Sri Lankan shares edge down in dull trading ahead of govt budget

COLOMBO, Oct 28 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended weaker on Friday in thin trading, hovering near a 12-week closing low hit earlier in the week, as the prime minister’s plan for improving the investment climate failed to bring cheer to the market.

Sri Lanka will introduce concessions on investments and a lower tax regime in its budget to boost faltering investment, generate jobs and remove obstacles to growth for start-up companies, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in an economic policy statement on Thursday.

However, investors continued to await the budget, as well as the central bank’s key policy rates and corporate earnings.

"Statements will not help the sentiment anymore. The market is waiting to see some implementation of those policies," a stockbroker said asking not to be named.

The benchmark index of the Colombo Stock Exchange ended 0.21 percent, or 13.65 points, weaker at 6,424.85, near Monday’s closing low, which was its lowest close since Aug. 1.

The index fell 0.35 percent for the week, recording its third straight weekly fall.

Friday’s turnover was 288.6 million rupees ($1.96 million), less than half of this year’s daily average of 729.1 million rupees.

Foreign investors were net buyers of 72.3 million rupees worth of equities on Friday, extending the net foreign inflow so far this month to 1.21 billion rupees.

They have sold a net 1.74 billion rupees worth of shares this year.

Sri Lanka’s central bank is expected to keep its key interest rates steady on Monday, analysts said.





Sri Lanka’s quarterly earnings season started two weeks ago, but most locally listed firms report in late October or early November. The national budget is scheduled to be presented on Nov. 10.

Shares in biggest listed Lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc fell 1.09 percent while conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc fell 0.40 percent.

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