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Stocks steady ahead of budget; turnover at 7-week high


9 November 2017 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


REUTERS: Sri Lankan shares ended steady yesterday with turnover hitting a seven-week high on foreign selling in United Motors Lanka, while all eyes are on the 2018 budget presentation scheduled today.

Sri Lanka’s coalition government will seek to stoke exports and employment through support for the small businesses in its 2018 budget, a move that is likely keep the island nation’s fragile public finances under pressure. The Colombo stock index closed 0.04 percent up at 6,598.26,

recovering from its lowest level since October 24 hit in the previous session.

The turnover was Rs.3.35 billion, its highest since September 15 and more than three times this year’s average of around Rs.950 million.

Foreign investors sold shares worth net Rs.2.2 billion in the session, mainly in United Motors. They are net buyers of shares worth Rs.18.1 billion so far this year.

“The market is awaiting the budget. The United Motors deal boosted the turnover,” said First Capital Equities CEO Jaliya Wijeratne.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera will present the 2018 budget today at 0930 GMT.

Samaraweera announced tax concessions worth a monthly Rs.1.5 billion, a day ahead of the budget, which is expected to focus on exports and fiscal consolidation.

Shares in United Motors Lanka, which accounted for 71.5 percent of the day’s turnover, rose 2 percent.

In a disclosure to the bourse, RIL Property Ltd, which gained 4.2 percent, said it has acquired 30 percent stake in United Motors at Rs.78 a share.

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