Shares extend slump into tenth straight session

By Hiran H. Senewiratne

Sri Lankan shares slumped, extending their falls into a tenth session and closing at one of the  lowest in more than six-and-a-half years, while the rupee slipped for a fourth day in dull trade yesterday, as sectarian violence drove off investors, stock market analysts said.

Sri Lanka’s economic growth is expected to slump to its lowest in nearly two decades this year and certain sectors including  tourism, foreign investment and overall business activity have all dropped after the bombings. Further, both indices moved downwards, ie, All Share Price Index down by 23.71 points and  S and P SL20 by 14.29 points. The day's turnover touched Rs. 388.6 million with two crossings/ arranged transactions. Those crossings came from JKH, which crossed 750,000 shares to the tune of Rs. 101.2 million and Kelani Tyre 1.2 million shares crossed for Rs. 41.1 million, per share value Rs. 34.

Distilleries Company stocks fell 0.20 cents to  Rs. 13.50, Hatton National Bank declined  Rs. 2.10 to Rs. 147.50 and Brown and Company opened at Rs. 3.20 .It is said that foreign investors bought a net Rs. 190.6 million worth of shares the previous day  but they have been net sellers of Rs. 4.2 billion worth of equities so far this year.  Analysts expect the currency to weaken further as money flows out of stocks and government securities. The rupee gained 0.6 percent  last week and is up 3.4 percent  for the year.

Exporters had converted dollars as investor confidence stabilised after a $1 billion sovereign bond was repaid in mid-January.  Foreign investors sold a net Rs. 10.8 billion  worth of government securities in the week ended May 8, extending net foreign outflow to  Rs. 20.8 billion  so far this year, Central Bank data showed.

It is said that Lanka Milk Food (CWE) PLC got a new CEO with effect from May 2. New CEO is Manjula Dahanayake who is from the corporate sector, market sources said.

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