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Sri Lankan shares close at lowest since mid-July

COLOMBO, Sept 18 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended at their lowest level in more than two months on Friday, slipping for a fourth straight session, led by diversified stocks as cautious investors awaited clues amid a weakening rupee and an upward trend in interest rates.

The main stock index ended down 0.08 percent at 7,107.87, its lowest close since July 15.

"There are not many local investors. They are awaiting clear policy direction," said Harsha Fernando CEO at the Sampath securities in Colombo.

Turnover stood at 529.4 million rupees ($3.8 million), less than half of this year’s daily average of 1.12 billion rupees. The turnover has been about half of this year’s daily average since Aug. 31, stock exchange data showed.

Analysts said investors were waiting to see how the government would bridge the budget deficit and where the revenue would come from, in its November budget.

A weak rupee curbed investor risk appetite and rising market interest rates also hit sentiment, with t-bill yields at their highest level in more than five months at the last auction.

The rupee ended slightly weaker on thin importer dollar demand a day after recovering in the previous session from a record low.

Foreign investors were net sellers of 46.5 million rupees worth of shares on Friday extending the year to date net foreign outflow to 2.99 billion rupees.

Shares in conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc declined 0.58 percent, and brokers attributed the fall to new shares coming in with the expiration of warrants.

Shares in Dialog Axiata Plc fell 0.89 percent while C T Holdings Plc slipped 3.05 percent. (Colombo/September 18 2015)





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