Sri Lankan shares end at one-month closing low; higher rates weigh

COLOMBO, May 30 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares fell to a near one-month low on Monday as investors sold large cap stocks on sentiment dented by a lack of catalysts for buying risky assets, amid concerns over foreign outflows and rising interest rates.

The benchmark Colombo stock index ended 0.28 percent, or 18.36 points, weaker at 6,552.85, its lowest close since April 29. It fell 0.94 percent during last week.

"The sentiment is very weak. All are waiting for some catalysts like a big foreign direct investment or IMF loan inflow or a big IPO," said Prashan Fernando, chief operating officer at Acuity stockbrokers.

Yields on treasury bills edged up by between 5 and 27 basis points to near three-year highs at a weekly auction last Wednesday, despite the central bank leaving key policy rates steady for a third straight month.

Foreign investors net sold 66.6 million rupees ($452,446) worth of shares on Monday, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 5.64 billion rupees worth of shares.

Turnover stood at 740.2 million rupees, lower than this year’s daily average of around 795.9 million rupees.

Shares in top conglomerate John Keells Holdings, ended steady while those in Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka edged down 0.2 percent. The two stocks collectively accounted for 72 percent of the day’s turnover.

Shares in Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc fell 1.78 percent, while those in Sri Lanka Telecom Plc dropped 2.68 percent and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc fell 0.77 percent, dragging the overall index down.






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