Sri Lanka stock index hits new all-time high ahead of CB’s policy framework


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  • Aug 28, 2021
    Sri Lanka’s stock index jumped to a fresh record high on Thursday (30) ahead of the central bank’s temporary policy framework under new governor with investors buying heavyweights on earning hopes, brokers said.

    The index closed 0.28 percent or 26.17 points up at 9,459.94. It touched a fresh record high of 9,500.38 during the first hour into the trade.

    The S&P SL20 index of more liquid stocks gained 1.41 percent or 49.25 points to close at 3,553.39.

    The central bank under new governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal will launch a six-month Road Map for Ensuring Macroeconomic and Financial System Stability on Friday. Investors expect some positive policy measures to curb rupee depreciation to be in the framework.

    “Speculations over better earnings in the companies which have dollarized assets are driving the index,” a broker said.

    “John Keells gained due to its 700 million dollar deal with an Indian company to build West Container Terminal of the Colombo port.”

    Increase in Treasury bill rates, which rose between 32-71 basis points this week, was a concern as the move has signaled a gradual rise in the market interest rates.

    The move could help the central bank to print less money while brokers say the rise in the interest rates could see investors shifting their funds from equity to fixed assets slowly.

    Sri Lanka health authorities also decided to lift the island wide lockdown that was imposed on August 20, with daily cases and number of deaths showing a considerable decrease.

    Foreign investors, however, sold a net 526 million rupees worth of shares on Thursday. The market has suffered a net foreign outflow of over 44.1 billion rupees so far this year.

    The day’s turnover was high of 6.9 billion rupees, well above this year’s average daily turnover of over 4 billion rupees.

    The gain was led by Expolanka Holdings, Browns and Company and John Keells Holdings.

    Expolanka Holdings, the market heavyweight which has a significant export component in its business, gained 3.1 percent to close at 198.25 rupees a share.

    Brown and Company, a subsidiary of LOLC, gained 6.96 percent to close at 219.00 rupees a share, while John Keells Holdings gained 2.22 percent to close at 149.75 rupees a share.

    Browns Investment, another subsidiary of LOLC, fell 2.86 percent to close at 10.20 rupees a share.

    The bourse saw 107 stocks gaining against 85 falling on Thursday.

    Brokers say the market could fall significantly if a market correction starts.