Sri Lankan shares end lower; slip from more than 7-wk closing high

COLOMBO, Aug 8 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended slightly weaker in dull trade on Monday, slipping from their more than seven-week closing high hit in the previous session, as investors waited for firm direction on the government’s economic policies.

The benchmark Colombo stock index ended 0.16 percent, or 10.20 points weaker, at 6,506.93 on Monday.

On Friday, the index hit a more than seven-week high as investors bought blue chips expecting better profits on hopes that the central bank’s rate hike would help improve the island nation’s macro-economic outlook.

"There has been little bit more interest in the market. But institutional and foreign buying was less compared to retail investor buying as many investors are waiting for the government’s economic policies," said Prashan Fernando, COO at Acuity Stockbrokers.

"With the better June-quarter profits, investors are interested in the stocks than earlier. But they also need some concrete policy decision on the economy."

Stockbrokers said the market was waiting for a policy announcement on the economy from Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, scheduled later this month.

Shares have risen on hopes economic fundamentals would improve after the central bank on July 28 raised its main interest rates by 50 basis points each in a surprise move aimed at curbing stubbornly high credit growth that is adding to concerns about inflationary pressures.

Turnover stood at 372.9 million rupees ($2.57 million), its lowest since July 27 and around half of this year’s daily average of around 731.6 million rupees.

Overseas investors were net buyers of 41.4 million rupees worth of shares on Monday, extending the net foreign inflow during the last nine sessions to 992.7 million rupees worth of equities.

However, they have been net sellers of 3.81 billion rupees worth of shares so far this year.





Shares in Nestle Lanka Plc fell 1.8 percent, while Lanka ORIX Leasing Company Plc ended 1 percent weaker.

Sri Lanka Telecom Plc closed 1.6 percent weaker, dragging the overall index down.

Top mobile operator Dialog Axiata Plc, which posted an 18.6 percent gain in June-quarter profit earlier in the day, closed up 0.9 percent.


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