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Sri Lankan shares fall to 3-1/2-month closing low, blue chips drag


August 8, 2017

COLOMBO, Aug 8 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares fell for an eighth straight session on Tuesday, posting their lowest close in nearly 3-1/2 months, with blue chips such as John Keells Holdings Plc leading the decline while selling by foreign investors also weighed on the market.

The Colombo stock index fell 0.66 percent, or 43.30 points, to 6,524.13, its lowest close since April 26. It fell 1.5 percent last week in its third straight weekly drop.

“The market continued to come down on blue chips in low turnover,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Holdings.

“We find it mainly due to the negative sentiment after the earnings with the economic slowdown.”

Foreign investors, who have been net buyers of 26.5 billion rupees of equities so far this year, net sold shares worth 29.1 million rupees (about $189,886) on Tuesday.

Turnover stood at 350.4 million rupees, less than half of this year’s daily average of around 893.3 million rupees.

Shares of conglomerate John Keells dropped 2.8 percent, Nestle Lanka Plc dropped 1.6 percent, Caltex Lubricant Lanka Plc ended 3.6 percent weaker and Dialog Axiata Plc declined 0.9 percent.

Analysts, however, expect equities to gain due to a fall in the yields of government bonds.

Sri Lanka’s central bank held policy rates steady on Thursday, and said tightening measures taken in the past are helping cool inflation and credit growth. Short-term treasury-bond yields fell between 41 basis points (bps) and 55 bps at a weekly auction last week, while the yields on a 59-month bond dropped by 99 bps, while that on a 118-month bond fell by 78 bps.

Sri Lanka’s stock and foreign exchange markets were closed on Monday for a Buddhist religious holiday. ($1 = 153.2500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

The comments on this report are provided by the Capital Markets Research Unit of First Capital Holdings PLC an investment bank in Sri Lanka.

The company operates in the capital markets of Sri Lanka in government securities – treasury bills and bonds, stock brokering and share market investments, asset management, private wealth management,  retirement planning, personal financial planning, unit trust, margin trading, capital market research, trustee services, corporate finance advisory services including corporate debt structuring (debentures, trust certificates, commercial papers), valuations, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings (IPOs) and project advisory. 

The First Capital Group consists of First Capital Treasuries PLC, First Capital Limited, First Capital Markets Limited, First Capital Asset Management Limited and First Capital Equities (Private) Limited covering Colombo, Negombo, Matara, Kandy and Kurunegala.<