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Sri Lankan shares extend rally; reach two-week closing high

Sri Lanka, Aug 30 (Insights Equity) – Sri Lankan shares extended the rally into the second straight session today as local investor participation continued, buoyed by expectations that the country’s largest pension fund would soon re-enter the stock market.

The All Share Price Index (ASPI) gained 32 points, 0.53 percent higher than the previous session, to close the day at 6,076.68, its highest since August 16, 2018. Meanwhile S&P SL20, where largest and most liquid stocks are included, edged up nearly 16 points, 0.49 percent higher than yesterday to close the session at 3,241.00 points.

The year-to-date net foreign outflow extended to LKR4.2 bn (USD25.8 mn) as foreign investors became net sellers for the third consecutive session, offloading shares worth a net LKR76.9 mn (USD0.5 mn) today, 87 percent decline from the previous session.

Thus, net purchases by local investors tapered off since country’s Central Bank Governor declared earlier in the week that the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), the largest pension fund of the country, would soon re-engage in the investments in local stock market.

Meanwhile, 18.7 mn of shares changed hands today as the market turnover stood at LKR337.9 mn (USD2.1 mn), well-below the year-to-date average daily turnover of LKR814.0 mn (USD5.1 mn).

Only one crossing, where 0.5 mn shares of John Keells Holdings transacted at LKR140.0, was witnessed during the day as the stock led the daily turnover generation with a contribution of 38 percent, ahead of Sanasa Development Bank which contributed 11 percent.

Sector-wise, the diversified sector made the highest contribution of 42 percent to the day’s turnover, followed by the Banks, Finance & Insurance stocks which collectively made up 37 percent.

Furthermore, SMB Leasing and Commercial Leasing & Finance were amongst the top gainers in the market, while Tess Agro and Renuka Agri Foods were two of the most actively traded stocks for the day.

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Reporting by: Dulan Lokuwithana
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