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Sri Lankan stocks at 3-wk high; rupee steady
2012-06-15 09:18:27
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Sri Lankan stocks jumped 1.6 percent yesterday to a more than three-week high on institutional buying of blue-chips stocks like John Keells Holdings PLC in an oversold market after the Central Bank kept policy rates steady.

The Central Bank held the key policy rates unchanged on Wednesday.

The main index rose 1.61 percent or 78.23 points to end at 4,923.02, its highest since May 28.

“The market’s upward movement was quite overdue because it was oversold,” Danushka Samarasinghe, research head at TKS Securities, told Reuters. The market fell 10.8 percent in May due to economic and political worries. It has recovered 2 percent in June.

Market heavyweight and the top conglomerate John Keells Holdings gained 2.14 percent to Rs.186, while top private lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon gained 0.4 percent to Rs.100.90.

Analysts, however, said economic worries, in particular concern about rupee volatility, remained, resulting in thin trading volume.

The day’s turnover was Rs.427.8 million ($3.24 million), the highest since June 7, but less than the daily average of Rs.943 million this year.

Foreign investors were net sellers of Rs.4.23 million worth of shares.

The rupee ended barely changed at 132.00/132.10 against the dollar from Wednesday’s close of 131.90/132.10. It hit an all time low of 133.60 on Tuesday on importer dollar demand.

Yesterday, Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera told Reuters the rupee had hit its low and would stabilise around 125 per dollar in the medium term. Analysts said currency dealers were waiting to see the outcome of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission meeting government and the Central Bank officials for talks on the last tranche of a $2.6 billion loan.

(Reuters)
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