Sri Lanka shares fall to over 1-week low amid budget uncertainty

COLOMBO, Nov 13 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares edged down on Friday, losing for a fourth straight session to their lowest level in more than a week, led by large caps as speculation and uncertainty over the upcoming budget dented investor sentiment.

Brokers said the day’s trading volume was low because investors were on the sidelines awaiting policy direction from the annual budget scheduled for Nov. 20. This week’s daily average turnover was around 600 million rupees, around half of this year’s daily average.

The main stock index ended down 0.06 percent, or 4.54 points, at 7,001.81, its lowest close since Nov. 3.

"Still the uncertainty remains with regard to the governments economic policy and stability over fulfilling its election promises," said Danushka Samarasinghe, research head at Softlogic stockbrokers in Colombo.

Foreign investors were net sellers of 54.6 million rupees worth of equities on Friday, extending the year to date net foreign outflow to 3.6 billion rupees worth of shares.

The day’s turnover was 779.4 million rupees, less than this year’s daily average of 1.1 billion rupees.

Shares in Trans Asia Hotels Plc fell 8.55 percent with only 407 shares changing hands, while Nestle Lanka Plc fell 1.14 percent and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc lost 0.65 percent, dragging down the overall index.

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