March 24 (Reuters) – Shares in Sri Lanka tread water on Thursday as gains in industrial companies offset losses in stocks of consumer staples, even as the country’s central bank provided stability to the struggling country’s banking system.
* The CSE All-Share Index .CSE ended down 0.06% at 10,451.71 points.
* Sri Lanka’s state-owned banks are functioning well and the banking system is stable, the island nation’s central bank said on Thursday, in response to concerns raised by an opposition MP.
* Sri Lanka will seek help from the World Bank to avert a severe economic crisis in addition to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) rescue package to be discussed next month, two sources said.
* Earlier this week, Sri Lanka stationed troops at hundreds of state-run gas stations to help distribute fuel after a sudden spike in commodity prices and accompanying shortages forced tens of thousands of people to queue for hours.
* The Indian Ocean nation’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen 70% in the past two years to around $2.31 billion, leaving it struggling to pay for essential imports including food and fuel.
* Commercial Leasing and Finance Plc COLE.CM was the main drag, down 4.5%, while conglomerate Expolanka Holdings Plc EXPO.CM was the main boost for the index, gaining 3.3%.
* Foreign investors were net buyers in the stock market, buying shares worth almost 171.7 million Sri Lankan rupees while domestic investors were net sellers, unloading 1.72 billion rupees of shares, according to exchange data.
* Stock market turnover was 1.74 billion rupees.
* Trading volume fell to 50.9 million shares from 88.35 million shares in the previous session.
* For a report on world markets, click on MKTS/GLOB
(Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)
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