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Sri Lankan shares hit over 2-week low


JULY 30, 2018

COLOMBO, July 30 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares extended losses to a fifth straight session on Monday as investors sold blue-chip stocks such as John Keells Holdings Plc after weak first-quarter numbers from the conglomerate dampened sentiment.

Conglomerate John Keels Holdings Plc after market hours on Thursday reported a 26 percent year-on-year fall in quarterly net profit.

The stocks, bond and foreign exchange markets were closed on Friday for a public holiday.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.41 percent weaker at 6,128.95, its lowest close since July 12, extending its year-to-date loss to 3.8 percent.

The index dropped 0.47 percent last week, its first weekly fall in three.

Turnover stood at 169.4 million rupees ($1.06 million), well below of this year’s daily average of 859.4 million rupees.

“The market came down manly on JKH as the earnings came down,” said Atchuthan Srirangan, assistant manager – research, First Capital Holdings Plc.

Shares of Keells fell 1.4 percent on Monday.

“Because the blue-chips are showing negative results, most of the investors are on the sidelines.”

Foreign investors bought equities net worth 1.4 million rupees on Monday. But they have been net sellers of 2.5 billion rupees worth of equities so far this 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 Hatton National Bank Plc ended 1.3 percent lower while Caltex Lubricant Lanka Plc closed 5.3 percent down and Sampath Bank Plc fell 1 percent. ($1 = 159.5500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Vyas Mohan)