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Sri Lankan stocks end at near 3-week low in thin trade


MAY 08, 2018

COLOMBO, May 4 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended at a near three-week low on Friday, led by large-cap shares in a light trading session, as investors looked for fresh cues from political and economic fronts.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.26 percent weaker at 6,506.74, its lowest since April 16. The index lost 0.37 percent during the week, its second straight weekly fall.

“The market was down primarily on CTC (Ceylon Tobacco Company PlC). It fell in low volumes and dragged the market. Other shares ended flat with most of the investors still on the sidelines awaiting direction,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings.

Shares in Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc ended 2.6 percent lower while Lanka ORIX Leasing Plc fell 2.7 percent.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc ended 0.1 percent down and Dialog Axiata Plc closed steady.

Analysts said depreciation of the rupee also weighed on the sentiment as it is likely to dent the profits of some listed firms that rely heavily on imports.

The Sri Lankan rupee hit a fresh low on Wednesday on importer demand for the U.S. currency, dealers said, but recovered after the central bank intervened in the market.

Fitch Ratings said on Thursday that recent political developments in Sri Lanka have created some uncertainty over reform momentum and fiscal consolidation, and prolonged upheaval could undermine investor confidence ahead of large external debt maturities in 2019-22.

Turnover stood at 386.4 million rupees ($2.45 million), around a third of this year’s daily average of 1.04 billion rupees.

Foreign investors bought a net 34.8 million rupees worth of equities on Friday, but the market has seen a net foreign outflow to 587.9 million rupees worth of equities so far this year. ($1 = 157.4300 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan)