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Sri Lankan stocks end near 2-week closing low


MARCH 06, 2018

COLOMBO, March 5 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares fell slightly on Monday and finished the session near a two-week closing low hit last week, as investors sold stocks of diversified and palm oil companies amid continued political uncertainty, stockbrokers said.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.06 percent weaker at 6,552.81, following a 0.28 percent drop last week. On Wednesday, it posted its lowest close since Feb. 14.

Turnover was 1.3 billion rupees ($8.39 million) on Monday, more than this year’s daily average of 967.9 million rupees.

“It was a very slow day,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings, referring to inactive local investors.

Local investors continued to be on the sidelines as they were still worried about political uncertainty, he added.

Foreign investors bought a net 45.9 million rupees worth of shares, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to 5.97 billion rupees worth of equities so far this year.

Shares of Melstacorp Ltd fell 5.3 percent, Carson Cumberbatch Plc declined 6.1 percent and Bukit Darah Plc dropped 7.6 percent.

Sri Lankan shares hit a more than three-month high last month after two key parties in the ruling coalition decided to remain in the ruling coalition, allaying fears of a government collapse.

President Maithripala Sirisena reshuffled his cabinet last week, appointing his prime minister as the law and order minister, after the governing coalition suffered a series of defeats in local elections earlier this month.

However, the changes failed to boost the market as the cabinet reshuffle was not enough to address the election defeats, analysts said. ($1 = 154.9000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)