Sri Lankan shares end 4-day winning streak

COLOMBO, Feb 3 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended a tad weaker on Wednesday, snapping four straight sessions of gains, led by losses in large caps amid poor sentiment due to global economic concerns.

The main stock index ended down 0.36 percent at 6,402.80, slipping from its highest close since Jan. 14 hit on Tuesday.

"We expected things to be positive. But it came down earlier than we expected with the negative sentiments on global markets after the recent gains," said Dimantha Mathew, research manager at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

Turnover was 363.9 million rupees ($2.53 million), well below this year’s daily average of 852.2 million rupees.

The index had fallen 7.1 percent this year through Wednesday as foreign investors, unnerved by global concerns over China’s economy, cut their exposure.

Foreign investors sold a net 6.97 million rupees worth of shares on Wednesday, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 198.7 million rupees.

Analysts said a rising trend in local interest rates has been a concern and local stocks could come under further pressure.

Yields on treasury bills rose between 7 and 23 basis points at a weekly auction on Tuesday with yields on 182-day and 364-day t-bills rising to more-than-two-year highs, signalling a further rise in market interest rates, which move in tandem with the yields.

Shares of market heavyweight John Keells Holdings Plc eased 0.75 percent, Distillers Company of Sri Lanka Plc fell 1.78 percent and Hemas Holdings Plc lost 2.30 percent.

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