Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Net foreign selling tops Rs. 17 b; bourse remains negative

Accelerated by global meltdown largely and partly due to Sri Lanka’s failure to remain a credible case for investment, net foreign selling at the Colombo bourse has now topped the Rs. 17 billion mark year to date.

The Rs. 17 billion mark was crossed this week whilst at end September the figure was Rs. 16.96 billion.

The value of net selling so far this year is on top of a record Rs. 26.3 billion outflow in 2010. Sri Lanka last enjoyed net foreign buying into the Colombo bourse in 2008 with the amount being Rs. 14 billion.

Arrenga Capital said yesterday Asian stocks and commodities registered dips for the third consecutive day.
Regional bond risk has gone up to a two-year high with the Euro debt worsening. MSCI Asia Pacific Index dipped 2.1% at 10:30 a.m. Sri Lankan time after sinking 2.6% yesterday. S&P’s 500 futures added 0.2% after a two-day drop whilst Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average was also seen tumbling down by 1.5%.

Meanwhile, the Colombo Bourse continued its depressed run falling to one week low yesterday. Reuters said the slide was led by banking and diversified shares due to local credit concerns and global worries over Greece’s debt crisis.

The main share index closed 0.91 per cent or 61.85 points down at 6,721.54, its lowest close since 28 September. It is still Asia’s best performer with a return of 1.29 per cent on the year.

Investors have been largely on the sidelines as retail speculative buying has dominated the market in the last few months with some investors seen selling fundamentally sound shares and increasingly buying speculative shares.

“Lack of foreign participation on the buying side is a real concern. That can be due to global slowdown fears,” a market analyst said on condition of anonymity.

“When institutional and foreign players are not in the market, the local investors are creating a space for them to have a market,” he said referring to increased speculative buying on the bourse.

Top conglomerate and market heavyweight John Keells Holdings fell 0.54 per cent to Rs. 202.80 while shares in private lender Hatton National Bank lost 2.54 per cent to Rs. 196.

Losers outperformed gainers by 164 to 51, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Turnover was Rs. 2 billion ($ 18.1 million), less than last year’s average of 2.4 billion and this year’s 2.7 billion.

Tuesday’s total volume was 79.1 million, against a five-day average of 84.9 million. The 30-day and 90-day average trading volumes were 149.1 million and 141 million. Last year’s daily average was 67.9 million.

The rupee closed steady at 110.18/20 a dollar, as a State bank sold dollars at a flat rate of 110.20 rupees despite heavy importer dollar demand, dealers said.

Currency traders said the Central Bank’s mopping up of liquidity had created demand for local currency and as a result, exporters and banks sold dollars to buy the rupee.

The Central Bank mopped up Rs. 4.1 billion from the market on Tuesday through a repo auction at 7.08 per cent.

Pressure on Sri Lanka’s rupee will recede in coming months due to increasing inflows into the country’s service, capital and financial accounts, the Central Bank said on Monday.

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