Sri Lankan shares end steady; turnover at 6-wk low

COLOMBO, Oct 26 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended steady on Monday, but the day’s turnover slumped to a six-week low ahead of a holiday as investors awaited clues from a key policy statement by the government.

The main stock index ended up 0.03 percent at 7,083.48, its highest close since Oct. 12. It gained for a fifth straight session, closing at its highest in nearly two weeks.

Turnover slumped to its lowest since Sept. 11 ahead of a holiday on Tuesday. The day’s turnover was 481.4 million rupees ($3.41 million), less than half this year’s daily average of 1.1 billion rupees.

Both currency and stock markets will be closed for a Buddhist religious holiday on Tuesday.

"It’s a very dull day and nothing was happening. Investors are waiting for the budget to be announced," said Yohan Samarakkody, head of research at SC Securities (Pvt) Ltd.

"The cloud needs to be cleared with regard to the economy. Everyone has taken a step back and is looking at the direction of the overall economy."

Foreign investors, who have been net sellers of 2.89 billion rupees worth of equities so far this year, bought a net 23.1 million rupees worth shares on Monday.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to announce the country’s economic policy in the first week of November, outlining the government’s economic priorities ahead of the 2016 budget scheduled for Nov. 20.

Analysts said a government move to implement a budget proposal of a retrospective tax targeting corporates has dented sentiment.

Shares of conglomerate John Keells Holdings rose 0.85 percent, while Sri Lanka Telecom Plc gained 1.46 percent. (Colombo/October 26 2015)
 

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