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Sri Lankan shares fall for third straight session in dull trade


JULY 26, 2018

COLOMBO, July 25 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares extended fall for a third straight session on Wednesday as investors sold blue-chip shares, but foreign buying helped limit losses.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.34 percent weaker at 6,162.49. The index, which is down nearly 3 percent in the year so far, had on Friday recorded its highest close since June 29.

Turnover stood at 161.4 million Sri Lankan rupees ($1.01 million), less than a third of this year’s daily average of 873.1 million rupees.

“Today the market came down on blue-chip selling in dull trade,” said Atchuthan Srirangan, assistant manager – research, First Capital Holdings Plc.

“Investors are waiting to see the direction and the good sign is we are seeing net foreign buying for the fifth straight day.”

Foreign investors bought equities worth net 4.3 million rupees ($26,959.25) on Wednesday, but they have been net sellers of stocks worth 2.4 billion rupees so far in the year.

A downward revision in economic growth estimate earlier this month by the central bank has hurt sentiment, analysts have said.

Economic growth in 2018 is likely to be between 4 percent and 4.5 percent, falling short of an earlier estimate of 5 percent, Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said earlier this month.

Shares in Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc fell 9.5 percent, while conglomerate John Keels Holdings Plc ended 0.9 percent down, biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed 1.0 percent down, Dialog Axiata Plc lost 0.1 percent and Hemas Holding Plc ended 1.3 percent lower. ($1 = 159.5000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Vyas Mohan)