Business

Sri Lanka shares down on looming lockdown fears

Sri Lanka stocks slipped 0.38 percent on Tuesday as fears over a looming lockdown in the face of spike in Covid-19 death and spreading dented investor sentiment, brokers said.

Colombo All Share price index fell 30.51 points to close at 8,070.88 while S&P SL20 index of more liquid stocks fell 0.15 per cent or 4.70 points to close at 3,034.36.

Despite Sri Lanka’s successful and speedy vaccination program, the number of daily deaths and contracted people are on the rise since the latter part of last month with reports of hospitals running out of capacity.

The government late on Tuesday, deviating from its earlier stance of no restriction, re-imposed inter-province restriction starting from Tuesday which will be monitored strictly

“Covid of lockdown concerns dragged the market. But as far as the interest rates are low, there is no avenue for local investors other than taking a risk and invest in stocks,” a stockbroker said asking not to be named.

Sri Lanka stocks have been on the rise partly due to record low interest rates, excess liquidity in money markets and some businesses being disrupted due import controls triggered by money printing. The trend of net foreign selling has been continuing since early last year.

Market participants said that news COVID-19 piling on and the government suddenly deciding an inter-province travel restriction pushed the already dampened investors to move to a selling spree.

The day’s turnover was 4.7 billion rupees, higher than this year’s average daily turnover of 3.9 billion rupees.

Foreign investors bought a net 41.6 million worth shares on Tuesday, but the market has suffered a net foreign outflow of over 34.7 billion rupees so far this year.

The bourse saw 60 stocks gaining against 127 falling on Tuesday.

LOLC Holdings closed 8.50 rupees down at 450.00 rupees a share. The share has skyrocketed in the recent past as LOLC group is expected to perform well once the operation starts in Colombo Port City, where it has invested.

LOLC Development Finance, a subsidiary of LOLC fell 11.00 rupees to close at 469.00 rupees a share.

Browns Investments, another subsidiary and the investment arm of LOLC group closed 10 cents down at 6.70 rupees a share.

Cross-border freight forwarder Expolanka Holdings, closed 1.90 rupees up at 82.60 rupees a share arresting the market fall.

The Transportation Industry was the most active and gained 2.3 per cent.

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