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Sri Lanka shares end steady ahead of central bank rate decision

Sri Lanka shares end steady ahead of central bank rate decision

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan shares ended flat in dull trade on Friday as investors waited for negotiations to conclude on a loan deal with the International Monetary Fund and ahead of a central bank decision on interest rates next week.

The central bank’s April monetary policy announcement is scheduled at 1230 GMT on Tuesday, and expectations are that it would keep key interest rates steady, a Reuters poll showed.

The central bank twice tightened rates since December to ease pressure on a fragile rupee.

The benchmark stock index was barely changed at 6,422.65 on Friday, hovering near its highest close since Feb. 2 hit on Wednesday. It rose 0.3 percent on the week.

“The IMF deal is keenly awaited and we expect the market to move sideways until the deal is over,” a stockbroker said asking not to be named.

A visiting IMF mission said last week it expected to complete negotiations with Sri Lanka for a three-year loan programme in the next two weeks.

Markets were closed on Thursday for a Buddhist religious holiday. Shares in Chevron Lubricants Lanka PLC, which accounted for a third of the day’s turnover, ended 1.5 percent lower.

Foreign investors net sold 98 million rupees ($670,315) worth of equities on Friday, extending net outflows to 3.15 billion rupees so far in the year.

The 14-day relative strength index ended at 73.976 on Friday, compared with Wednesday’s 74.059, Reuters data showed. A level between 70 and 30 indicates the market is neutral.

Turnover stood at 615.2 million rupees, less than this year’s daily average of around 780 million rupees.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

Courtesy : BRecorder



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