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Sri Lankan Shares Close at 1-month Low in Thin trade

First Capital’s Senior Research Analyst, Atchuthan Srirangan, speaks to Reuters Thu Oct 20, 2016

Sri Lankan shares ended slightly weaker on Thursday, posting their lowest close in a month, as investors awaited next month’s national budget and a flurry of corporate results. The benchmark index of the Colombo Stock Exchange ended 0.03 percent or 2.03 points lower at 6,442.36, its lowest close since Sept. 20, in thin trading.

“Investors are waiting to see the outcome of the budget and quarterly results,” said Atchuthan Srirangan, a senior research analyst with First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd. “Market will move sideways until the budget,” he said.

Stockbrokers said the market was digesting political concerns over the resignation of the head of Sri Lanka’s anti-corruption body on Monday, a few days after President Maithripala Sirisena implied that the agency was favouring the rival party of his prime minister. This is likely to delay one of the promises of Sirisena’s coalition government to eliminate corruption and could hurt business confidence, analysts said.

Turnover stood at 365.03 million rupees ($2.50 million), well below this year’s daily average of around 739.4 million rupees. Foreign investors, who have sold a net 2.06 billion rupees worth of shares so far this year, bought a net 39.1 million rupees worth equities on Thursday.

Top conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc ended 0.66 percent weaker while Cargills (Ceylon) Plc fell 4.61 percent. Sri Lanka’s quarterly earnings season started last week but the bulk of locally listed firms will not report until late October or early November.

($1 = 145.9000 Sri Lankan rupees)

(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)