Sri Lanka stocks recover amid lockdown concerns


Sri Lanka stocks recovered on Friday a day after they fell around 1.5 per cent as the government announced it will not go for a COVID lockdown, brokers said.

Colombo All Share Price Index (ASPI) edged up 0.19 per cent or 15.13 points to close at 7,996.04 while S&P SL20 index of more liquid stocks gained 0.14 per cent or 4.06 points to close at 2,993.08.

The gain was led by Ambeon Capital, LOFC Finance and LOLC Development Finance, brokers said.

“There was a cautious approach in buying amid concerns if the government would go for a lockdown during the weekend. It was basically dominated by local buying though the volume was conservative,” a stockbroker said.

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 to import controls triggered by money printing. The trend of net foreign selling has been continuing since early last year.

Despite Sri Lanka’s successful and speedy vaccination program, the number of daily deaths and contracted people is on the rise since the latter part of last month. Health authorities on Thursday reported a record high of 156 deaths due to covid-19.

Sri Lankan Experts in the World Health Organization (WHO) have warned the country that if stricter measures are not imposed now, the country will see some 30,000 deaths by January 2022.

According to the group, daily deaths are expected to increase up to 220 a day by early October meanwhile, with current levels of mobility restrictions, the daily caseload is set to increase up to 6,000 a day by mid-September.

The day’s turnover was 2.3 billion rupees, well below this year’s average daily turnover of 3.9 billion rupees.

Foreign investors sold a net 21.5 million worth of shares on Friday, and the market has suffered a net foreign outflow of over 36.07 billion rupees so far this year.

The bourse saw 90 stocks gaining against 91 falling on Friday.

LOLC Holdings closed 1.25 rupees up at 433.00 rupees a share while LOLC Development Finance, a subsidiary of LOLC up 5.75 rupees to close at 467.00 rupees a share.

Browns Investments, another subsidiary and the investment arm of LOLC group closed flat at 6.50 rupees a share.

Cross-border freight forwarder Expolanka Holdings, closed 40 cents down at 79.30 rupees a share.

The Diversified Financials was the most active and gained 0.6 per cent.