Sri Lanka shares fall from 7-month closing high on retail selling

COLOMBO, Aug 20 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended weaker on Thursday, moving away from more than seven-month closing high hit in the previous session, on profit-taking by some retail investors.

Retail investors booked some profit as they waited for the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe-led government to announce its economic policies after the parliamentary election victory.

The main stock index ended 0.65 percent or 48.96 points weaker, at 7,449.82, slipping from its highest close since Jan. 16 hit on Wednesday.

"It was mostly retail selling because retail investors have bought shares for credit, expecting the index to gain sharply after the election results," a stockbroker said on condition of anonymity.

"Investors are waiting for some clarity on the formation of the government and its economic policies."

Wickremesinghe’s centre-right United National Party (UNP) is expected to form a stable government along with President Maithripala Sirisena’s centre-left Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), to help pass promised reforms.

Wickremesinghe is expected to continue as the prime minister of a centre-right government that would seek to revive stalled reforms to make the government more open and accountable.

The day’s turnover stood at 1.24 billion rupees ($9.3 million), more than this year’s daily average of 1.14 billion rupees.

Foreign investors bought a net 131.3 million rupees worth of equities on Thursday, but they have been net sellers of 1.16 billion rupees so far this year.

The fall in index was led by Dialog Axiata Plc, which lost 2.52 percent.

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