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Sri Lankan shares close at 3-month low

COLOMBO, July 8 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares closed at their lowest in three months, pulled down by market heavyweight John Keells Holdings Plc, as political uncertainty ahead of the Aug. 17 parliamentary elections weighed on investor sentiment.

The main stock index ended 0.63 percent weaker at 6,923.79, its lowest close since April 10 and the biggest single-day loss since June 3.

The day’s turnover stood at 518 million rupees ($3.88 million), less than half of this year’s daily average of 1.06 billion rupees.

"The market continues to come down with political uncertainty. What is happening is that not many investors are doing anything. That is why we see low turnover with continued foreign selling," said Dimantha Mathew, a research manager at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

Shares in John Keells Holdings fell 2.67 percent, while Sri Lanka Telecom Plc fell 2.91 percent, dragging down the overall index.

President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved parliament on June 26 and scheduled elections for Aug. 17, in an effort to consolidate power and push through political reforms.

The market saw net foreign outflow of 2.57 million rupees on Wednesday, extending the net outflow for the past 30 sessions to 4.85 billion rupees.

However, foreign investors have been net buyers of 1.09 billion rupees worth of shares so far this year.

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