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Sri Lankan shares end flat; blue chips down

COLOMBO, July 14 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended steady on Thursday, after it hit a near three-week closing high in the previous session, as investors sold blue chip shares such as Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc and John Keells Holdings Plc .

The benchmark Colombo stock index ended down 0.01 percent at 6,401.90. It gained 1.3 percent last week in its first weekly gain in four.

"There was profit-taking in some blue chip companies," said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

The bourse touched a near three-week high on Wednesday due to positive sentiment after Sri Lanka raised $1.5 billion in its first sale of dual-tranche eurobonds earlier this week, as over $5.5 billion in offers for the issue showed global investors were bullish about the prospects of the $82 billion economy.

After the bond deal, yields in local T-bill auction fell along with the 364-day T-bill rates at Wednesday’s auction for the first time since April 15.

Turnover stood at 1.06 billion rupees ($7.27 million), well above this year’s daily average of around 742.7 million rupees.

Overseas investors, who were net sellers for the first time in seven sessions, sold a net 3.2 million rupees worth of shares, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 5.08 billion rupees worth of equities.

Shares stumbled recently and hit their lowest close since April 7 on Monday, after losing in 10 of 11 trading sessions, on worries over capital gains tax on stocks, high-interest rates and policy uncertainty.

Shares in Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc fell as much as 1.96 percent while conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc dropped as much as 0.64 percent and Aitken Spence Plc slipped as much as 2.03 percent.






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