Friday, 18 October 2019 06:07

Stocks end higher on bargain hunting; rupee weaker

REUTERS: Shares snapped two sessions of losses to end higher yesterday as investors picked up beaten down stocks while the rupee closed weaker.

The benchmark stock index closed 0.40% higher at 5,860.09. The index has dropped 3.18% so far this year. Meanwhile, the rupee ended 0.08% weaker at 182.00/10 per dollar compared with Wednesday’s close of 181.85/95. The currency is up 0.33% so far this year.

Foreign investors were net sellers of riskier assets for the 12th straight session as campaigning got underway for the country’s Presidential Election.

They sold a net Rs. 10.7 million worth of shares yesterday, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to Rs. 4.14 billion of equities, according to index data.

One of the two presidential frontrunners, former wartime defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has won the backing of President Maithripala Sirisena’s centre-left Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), in the election scheduled for 16 November.

Rajapaksa and the other strong candidate Sajith Premadasa, the housing minister who has strong backing among the rural poor, started their campaigns last week.

Equity market turnover was Rs. 526.4 million ($ 2.89 million), less than this year’s daily average of about Rs. 660.2 million. Last year’s daily average was Rs. 834 million.

Foreign investors sold government securities on a net basis for the seventh time in eight weeks, selling a net Rs. 102.8 million worth of government securities in the week ended 9 October.

Total foreign outflows from government securities through 9 October stood at Rs. 54.9 billion, as per Central Bank data.

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank left its key rates unchanged last week after loosening policy earlier this year, although growth is likely to remain subdued as the economy faces rising global risks.

 

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