COLOMBO May 27 Sri Lanka stocks fell to a
three-week low on Tuesday led by select blue-chips like Sri
Lanka Telecom PLC and conglomerate John Keells
Holdings PLC, while trading in shares of some financial
firms boosted turnover.
The main stock index ended 0.41 percent, or 25.58
points, lower at 6,267.44, its lowest close since May 7.
The day's turnover stood at 1.38 billion rupees ($10.58
million), more than this year's daily average of 1.02 billion,
helped by Multi Finance PLC, Entrust Securities PLC
, and Asia Asset Finance Ltd.
The bourse saw a net foreign inflow of 35.6 million rupees
on Tuesday, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to
1.87 billion rupees.
Stockbrokers expect the market to gain in the near future
due to lower interest rates after the central bank kept key
rates at multi-year lows on Tuesday for the fourth straight
month, as expected.
Shares of Sri Lanka Telecom PLC fell 5.74 percent to 46.00
rupees, while John Keells Holdings PLC fell 0.38 percent to
233.10 rupees. Both stocks dragged the overall index.
After the market closed, Keells said its March-quarter net
profit fell 9 percent to 4.68 billion rupees.
Multi Finance PLC ended 0.6 percent up at 16.70 rupees,
while Entrust Securities PLC rose 1.46 percent to 20.80
rupees. Asia Asset Finance PLC ended flat at 1.80
rupees a share.
The market has been on a rising trend since mid-March as
many investors were compelled to return to the stock market
because low interest rates have made fixed-income assets less
attractive, stockbrokers said.
However, analysts have raised concerns over sluggish
economic growth due to lower credit growth and consumer
Despite a multi-year low interest rate regime, data showed
private sector credit grew 4.3 percent in March from a year
earlier, the slowest expansion since May 2010.
The latest trade data, released on Monday, showed imports
have gained 8.2 percent in March, while exports hit a record
high of $1.07 billion helping to narrow the March trade deficit
by 15.5 percent compared to a year ago.
Central bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal on May 19 said
Sri Lanka's private sector credit growth would pick up to around
15 percent by the end of this year and continue to improve
($1 = 130.4000 Sri Lanka Rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil