Sri Lankan shares end down led by large-caps

COLOMBO, Aug 7 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares edged down on Friday on profit-taking in large-cap stocks, but stockbrokers expect the index to move sideways with less volatility until the parliamentary election later this month.

Hopes of political stability after the Aug. 17 elections and better earnings in the April-June quarter have boosted the index, which has gained 6.6 percent in a month through Thursday.

The main stock index ended 0.09 percent lower at 7,370.60.

"There was a little bit of profit-taking. We expect the market to hold these levels until the elections," Danushka Samarasinghe, research head at Softlogic Stockbrokers, told Reuters.

The losses were led by large-caps such as Carson Cumberbatch Plc, which fell 2.08 percent, while conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc lost 0.26 percent.

The index has been on a gaining trend since July 7 due to investor appetite for risky assets on expectations of strong corporate earnings and political stability after the election.

Thursday’s turnover stood at 1.08 billion rupees ($8.07 million), around this year’s daily average of 1.11 billion rupees.

Foreign investors, who sold a net 80.2 million rupees in equities on Friday, have sold a net 182.7 million rupees worth of shares so far this year.

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