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Sri Lankan stocks end lower; turnover hits 15-week low


APRIL 9, 2018

COLOMBO, April 6 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares slipped on Friday from their highest close in a week hit in the previous session, led by blue-chip stocks with the day’s turnover slumping to a 15-week low ahead of the traditional Sinhala-Tamil New Year later next week, brokers said.

The turnover stood at 134.6 million rupees ($866,152), its lowest since Dec. 22, 2017, and well below this year’s daily average of around 1.2 billion rupees.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.3 percent down at 6,455.32, edging down from its highest close since March 29 hit on Thursday.

The central bank unexpectedly cut its key lending rate by 25 basis points on Wednesday, as policy makers sought to revitalise an economy growing at its weakest pace in 16 years and facing heightened political uncertainty.

The index fell 0.33 percent during the week and dropped 1.14 percent last month.

“Market conditions were extremely slow with the festival season ahead. Foreign outflow is also continuing,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings.

Foreign investors sold shares worth net 19.1 million rupees on Friday extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 890.7 million rupees worth of equities.

Shares in Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka Plc ended 3.2 percent lower, while Dialog Axiata Plc closed 0.7 percent down, Soflogic Holdings Plc ended 2.6 percent weaker and John Keells Holdings Plc closed 0.3 percent lower.