Sri Lanka shares little changed, near 9-week high

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan shares ended little changed on Friday, hovering near their highest in over nine weeks hit in the previous session as investors awaited direction on the political front and cues from earnings, stockbrokers said.


The main stock index closed 0.01 percent down at 7,212.47, near its highest close since March 3 hit on Thursday. It has gained 4.52 percent since the central bank cut key rates on April 15, while yields on t-bills have fallen 44-57 basis points since then.

“Market is holding on the back of expected earnings,” said a stockbroker asking not to be named.

“Overall, bigger institutions and investors want to wait and see while some are taking profit. Others wants to buy.”

Turnover stood at 631.7 million rupees, less than this year’s daily average of around 1.07 billion rupees.

Analysts said the market could be dull until the perception of political uncertainty is addressed, with many investors in a wait-and-watch mode before the parliamentary elections.

Sri Lanka’s parliament passed reforms last week to reduce some of the president’s powers, although they were far fewer than President Maithripala Sirisena had promised.

Shares of Ceylon Beverage Holdings Plc ended steady at 750.50 rupees, while Cargills (Ceylon) Plc ended down 0.02 percent. Leading mobile phone operator Dialog Axiata Plc fell 0.1 percent. ($1 = 133.3000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil Nair)