ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s stock fell 0.1 percent on Thursday (17) on retail shares as investors continue to take profit amid concerns over economy and debts dented apatite for the island nation’s risky assets, brokers said.

The main All Share Price Index (ASPI), closed 12.42 points lower at 12,364.80 points, its lowest close since February 10.

“The market is witnessing some forced selling because investors have used broker credit. If the market is coming further down, then more forced selling will aggravate the loss further,” a senior market analyst told EconomyNext.

“The dollar issue is also really hurting the market sentiment. With there is a prediction of dollar rate is going to around 275 rupees in the near future, foreigners are pulling out their investment, while local investors see some uncertainty of the impact of such steep depreciation.”

S&P SL20 of the more liquid index bucked the trend to close 0.40 percent or 16.89 points higher to 4,218.46.

Analysts had predicted a downtrend in the market due to the uncertainties in the market and the economy. Last week, the market lost 2.3 percent.

The day’s turnover was 3.8 billion rupees, less than half this year’s average turnover of 6.9 billion rupees, highest in five days.

The market has been in a declining trend due to ongoing forex crisis most companies going through, despite many companies posting better-than-expected earnings in the December quarter. The rupee exchange rate is fixed at around 200 rupees by the central bank, but it is now above 250 rupees per dollar in the grey market.”

Foreign investors, who are highly worried about possible sharp depreciation or devaluation in the currency, sold a net of 16.1 million rupees worth shares on Thursday.

The foreign sales so far this year has been 3.3 billion rupees. In 2021, the Sri Lanka stock market suffered a net foreign outflow of 50 billion rupees.

Analysts had predicted that the economic concerns would drag the market from time to time until the government finds a sustainable solution for the country’s looming debt crisis.

LOLC Holdings, John Keells Holdings and Melstacorp dragged the market down on Thursday

LOLC Holdings fell 2.05 percent to close at 1,159.25 rupees a share, John Keells lost 1.10 percent to close at 157.75 rupees per share while Melstacorp slipped 2.41 percent to close at 56.60 rupees a share.

Expolanka, the market heavyweight which has export and freight businesses, slipped 0.55 percent to close at 319.25 rupees. (Colombo/Feb17/2022)