COLOMBO, June 11 (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s stock index fell for a fourth straight session on Thursday to close at its lowest in more than eight weeks, as concerns over political uncertainty sapped investor confidence for risky assets.
President Maithripala Sirisena’s government has said it would dissolve the parliament once some crucial reforms, including an electoral bill, are passed, but has yet to fix a date for the election.
The main stock index ended down 0.17 percent, or 11.93 points, at 7,051.52, slipping to its lowest closing level since April 15.
"Nothing much is happening and only strategic transactions are taking place. Everybody is on the wait for the elections," said Dimantha Mathew, research manager at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.
Thursday’s turnover was 835.7 million rupees ($6.3 million), lower than this year’s daily average of about 1.1 billion rupees.
Analysts said foreign investors have been selling shares amid expectations the U.S. would hike key interest rates sooner than expected. An upbeat U.S. nonfarm payrolls in May, the largest gain since December, has raised chances for a rate hike as early as September.
Foreign investors were net sellers of 69.4 million rupees worth of shares on Thursday, extending net foreign outflows to 1.53 billion rupees in equities in the past 12 sessions.
The bourse has seen net inflows of 4.41 billion rupees in equities so far this year.
Stockbrokers said better corporate earnings would help the market gain.
Shares in Nestle Lanka Plc fell 1.39 percent, while Hayleys Plc dropped 5.71 percent.
Caltex Lubricant Lanka Plc ended 1.57 percent lower.