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Sri Lankan Shares Recover from 12-wk Low in Dull Trading

First Capital’s Head of Research, Dimantha Mathew, speaks to Reuters Tuesday Oct 25, 2016


Sri Lankan shares edged up on Tuesday from a 12-week closing low hit in the previous session, but trading volume slumped to a more than 2-1/2-year low as investors awaited cues from the government budget and five-year plan as well as corporate earnings.

Sri Lanka’s quarterly earnings season started two weeks ago, but most of the firms listed locally reports in late October or early November. The national budget is scheduled to be presented on Nov. 10.

The benchmark index of the Colombo Stock Exchange ended 0.29 percent or 18.63 points higher at 6,436.97, edging up from Monday’s close of 6,418.34, its lowest since Aug. 1. The index fell 0.54 percent last week, its second straight weekly loss.

Tuesday’s turnover was 135.9 million rupees ($921,355.93), its lowest since March 17, 2014 and lower than a fifth of this year’s daily average of around 736.2 million rupees.

“It was a very dull day. It’s a waiting game now and nothing is happening,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

“The equity market is dead and all are waiting for the government’s five-year plan and the budget.”

Stockbrokers said the market was also digesting political concerns over the resignation of the head of Sri Lanka’s anti-corruption body on Oct. 17, a few days after President Maithripala Sirisena implied that the agency was favouring the rival party of his prime minister.

This is likely to delay one of the promises of Sirisena’s coalition government, eliminating corruption, and could hurt business confidence, analysts said.

Foreign investors bought a net 17.6 million rupees worth of equities on Tuesday, in the eleventh straight session of net foreign inflows and bringing the total net inflows to 1.23 billion rupees over that period.

They have sold a net 1.74 billion rupees worth of shares this year.

Shares in Ceylon Tobacco Company rose 2 percent, while Carson Cumberbatch Plc rose 1.65 percent.

($1 = 147.5000 Sri Lankan rupees)

(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)