Sri Lankan shares end little changed; large caps lead losers

COLOMBO, July 20 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended little changed on Wednesday as gains led by top conglomerate John Keells Holdings were offset by losses in large caps, while investors turned cautious ahead of a policy statement by the government in early August.

The benchmark Colombo stock index ended down 0.02 percent, or 1.32 points lower, at 6,414.49 in thin trade.

"Though the market ended in negative note, we have seen some interest in blue chip counters," said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

"Confidence level is improving and investors are having positive mindset. There is not a lot of selling pressure and investors are slowly collecting at their levels."

Investors are waiting for direction on the country’s economic policies that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to announce in August, dealers said.

Turnover stood at 576.1 million rupees ($3.95 million), well below this year’s daily average of around 737 million rupees.

Overseas investors, who were net sellers of shares worth 4.9 billion rupees so far this year, were net buyers worth 18.6 million rupees of equities on Wednesday.

Shares in Indo Malay Estate Plc fell as much as 13.83 percent, while Sri Lanka Telecom Plc lost 0.77 percent and Commercial Leasing and Finance Plc fell as much as 2.56 percent.

Shares of conglomerate John Keells Holding Plc ended 1.62 percent higher.

The index touched a three-week high on Friday as investor sentiment got a boost after Sri Lanka raised $1.5 billion in its first sale of dual-tranche eurobonds last week.





The more-than $5.5 billion in offers for the issue showed that global investors were bullish about the prospects of the $82-billion economy.

Yields on local T-bills fell at an auction on Wednesday for the second time since April 15, following the strong response to the bond deal.


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