Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sri Lanka stx weaker on banks sell-off; rupee firms

 * Foreign investors net sellers for the day

 * Rupee edged up on lack of importer demand

 COLOMBO, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's benchmark share index ended weaker on Wednesday with foreign investors selling select shares like conglomerate John Keells Holdings JKH.CM and Hatton National Bank HNB.CM, traders said.

 Sri Lanka's main share index .CSE rose 110.26 points or 1.66 percent to 6,732.85 during intraday trade and closed 41.63 points or 0.63 percent weaker at 6,664.22.

 The Colombo bourse is still Asia's best performer in 2010 with a 96.8 percent gain as the island's economy rebuilds after the end of a civil war in May 2009. It has shed 6.8 percent since hitting an all-time high of 7,207.75 on Oct 4.

 The CSE's 14-day relative strength index is at 39, between the neutral limits of 30 and 70, Thomson Reuters data showed.

 It is also trading at the highest forward price-to-earnings ratio in Asia and global emerging markets at 21.8 times, compared with 13.5 and 12.6 respectively, Thomson Reuters data showed.

 Shares in Jhon Keells fell 2.03 percent to 303.70 rupees a share while Hatton National Bank closed 2.20 percent weaker at 400.30 rupees.

 Turnover was 5.2 billion rupees ($46.5 million), nearly nine times the 2009 daily average and more than double this year's daily average of 2.4 billion. Foreign investors sold a net 1.3 billion rupees on Wednesday and have sold 21.7 billion this year.

 The rupee LKR= closed slightly firmer at 111.82/85 a dollar from Tuesday's 111.85/87 on lack of importer demand for dollars, dealers said.

  •  Whether the commercial banks will reduce the lending rates as the central bank kept its policy rates   steady despite some market concern of higher inflation
  •  Whether state funds will continue pushing up the index
  •  Performance shown in September quarter earnings
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