Sri Lankan shares end slightly lower ahead of budget

COLOMBO, Nov 8 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended marginally lower on Tuesday, down from a more than two-week closing high hit in the previous session, as investors turned cautious ahead of the national budget scheduled on November 10.

Sri Lanka’s 2017 budget plan will seek to boost revenue through a capital gain tax on properties, simplify tax collection and offer incentives to spur exports, although progress will depend on the coalition government agreeing on economic priorities, analysts say.

The benchmark index of the Colombo Stock Exchange ended 0.09 percent weaker, or down 5.91 points, at 6,439.06, slipping from its highest close since its October 21 hit on Monday.

Turnover stood at Rs161.7 million ($1.10 million), less than a quarter of this year’s daily average of Rs715.7 million.

Foreign investors bought beaten down stocks for a fifth straight session, picking up shares worth a net Rs12.3 million. They have net sold Rs1.01 billion worth of shares so far this year.

"It was a very lethargic day. Investors are waiting for the upcoming budget," said Yohan Samarakkody, head of research at SC Securities (Pvt) Ltd.

Shares in the biggest listed lender, Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, fell 0.86 percent, while Dialog Axiata Plc lost 1.74 percent.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc fell 0.59 percent.

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