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Sri Lankan shares edge up in dull trade ahead of govt budget

COLOMBO, Oct 27 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended slightly firmer on Thursday, hovering near a 12-week closing low hit earlier in the week, in thin trade as investors awaited cues from the government budget and five-year plan as well as corporate earnings.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe issued an economic policy statement in the parliament, giving some details of the government’s future economic policies, during market hours on Thursday. Dealers said the market was assessing the prime minister’s statement.

The benchmark index of the Colombo Stock Exchange ended 0.06 percent, or 3.61 points, firmer at 6,438.50. On Monday, the index had closed at its lowest level since August 1.

Thursday’s turnover was 204.7 million rupees ($1.38 million), less than a third of this year’s daily average of around 731.3 million rupees.

"Overall market is volatile and will move side ways until the budget," said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd. "Uncertainty is there and investors are on wait-and-see mode."

Foreign investors sold a net 18.4 million rupees worth of equities on Thursday. The net foreign inflow for the past eleven sessions through Tuesday was 1.23 billion rupees.

They have sold a net 1.81 billion rupees worth of shares this year.

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 November 10.

Shares in Bukit Darah Company Plc jumped 3.72 percent while Dialog Axiata Plc rose 0.87 percent and Hatton National Bank Plc gained 0.75 percent.





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