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Sri Lankan shares fall for third straight session; John Keells down


Sri Lankan shares fell for a third straight session on Thursday, posting their lowest close in a month, dragged down by diversified stocks such as John Keells Holdings Plc as investor sentiment continued to remain low on concerns about rising interest rates.

The Colombo stock index ended down 0.1 percent at 6,088.80, its lowest since Feb. 6. It shed 0.6 percent last week in its second straight weekly decline.

Foreign investors were net buyers for the seventh straight session on Thursday, purchasing shares worth 63.6 million rupees ($420,495.87), and extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to 1.95 billion rupees worth of equities.

Turnover was 875.6 million rupees, more than this year’s daily average turnover of 689.7 million rupees.

“The market is mainly down because of John Keells. It is slowly coming down with rising rates and economic uncertainty,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

“Foreigners seem to be the only buyers at the moment.”

Traders said there were concerns after the International Monetary Fund urged Sri Lanka’s central bank to be ready to tighten monetary policy if credit growth or inflation does not abate.

Shares of John Keells Holdings fell 1.06 percent while Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, the country’s biggest listed lender, declined 1.29 percent and Carson Cumberbatch Plc dropped 2.91 percent.

Sri Lanka Telecom Plc dropped 1.41 percent and Hatton National Bank Plc ended 1.16 percent weaker.

Yields on treasury bills have risen to a more than four-year high since October, while the central bank has kept key policy rates on hold.

($1 = 151.2500 Sri Lankan rupees)

(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)