Invigorated share trading following President’s updates to parliament on IMF bailout

By Hiran H. Senewiratne

The CSE was extremely bullish throughout yesterday and shares jumped in mid-day trade following President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s address to Parliament, wherein he mentioned that a Letter of Intent has been signed covering the deal with the IMF. The latter is to be submitted to the IMF Executive Board for approval, a market analyst said.

We expect Board approval in the third or fourth week of March, President Wickremesinghe said. “News of the IMF process coming to its conclusion has pushed up banking counters massively, which in turn is pulling the market up, because that is the biggest share counter in the stock market. Investors expect a fall in market rates once the IMF has agreed to provide its loan to Sri Lanka, the analyst added.

Amid those developments both indices moved upwards. The All- Share Price Index went up by 198 points and S and P SL20 rose by 35.5 points. Turnover stood at Rs 3.24 billion with five crossings. Those crossings were reported in Hemas Holdings, where 2.7 million share volumes crossed to the tune of Rs 180.9 million, its shares traded at Rs 67, NTB 1.2 million shares crossed for Rs 83.5 million, its shares traded at Rs 70.50, JKH 485,000 shares crossed for Rs 67.5 million and its share fetched Rs 139 million , Richard Pieris two million shares crossed to the tune of Rs 46 million, its shares traded at Rs 23 and CIC (Non- Voting) 450,000 shares crossed for Rs 26.1 million, its shares traded at Rs 58.

In the retail market top seven companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were; Expolanka Holdings Rs 369 million (2.4 million shares trade), Sampath Bank Rs 291 million (4.9 million shares traded), Lanka IOC Rs 197 million (907,000 shares traded), JKH Rs 125 million (896,000 shares traded), Sunshine Holdings Rs 95 million (2.1 million shares traded), ACL Cables Rs 91.9 million (1.1 million shares traded) and LOLC Holdings Rs 90.2 million (225,000 shares traded). During the day 114 million share volumes changed hands in 34000 transactions.

The Central Bank’s US dollar buying rate was Rs 318.30 and selling rate Rs 335.75. It is said that the rupee appreciated against the dollar by 3 per cent during the last three days.

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