REUTERS: Sri Lankan shares ended slightly firmer yesterday, hovering near a 12-week closing low hit earlier in the week, in thin trade as investors awaited cues from the government budget and five-year plan as well as corporate earnings.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe issued an economic policy statement in the parliament, giving some details of the government’s future economic policies, during market hours yesterday. Dealers said the market was assessing the prime minister’s statement.
The benchmark index of the Colombo Stock Exchange ended 0.06 percent, or 3.61 points, firmer at 6,438.50. On Monday, the index had closed at its lowest level since August 1. Thursday’s turnover was Rs. 204.7 million (US$1.38 million), less than a third of this year’s daily average of around Rs.731.3 million.
“Overall market is volatile and will move sideways until the budget,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd. “Uncertainty is there and investors are on wait-and-see mode.”
Foreign investors sold a net Rs.18.4 million worth of equities yesterday. The net foreign inflow for the past eleven sessions through Tuesday was Rs.1.23 billion. They have sold a net Rs.1.81 billion worth of shares this year. Sri Lanka’s quarterly earnings season started two weeks ago, but most locally listed firms report in late October or early November. The national budget is scheduled to be presented on November 10. Shares in Bukit Darah Company Plc jumped 3.72 percent while Dialog Axiata Plc rose 0.87 percent and Hatton National Bank Plc gained 0.75 percent.