Sri Lankan shares fall on profit-taking; John Keells down

COLOMBO, May 17 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares edged down on Tuesday from its highest close in more than four months hit in the previous session, on profit-taking led by John Keells Holdings Plc as investors cautiously awaited March quarter earnings.

Analysts also said investors were concerned that the government’s move to increase the value added tax and impose new taxes, effective May 2, would hit the bottom line of many companies.

The benchmark stock index ended down 0.56 percent, or 37.61 points, at 6,670.79, slipping from its highest close since Jan. 8 hit on Monday.

"There was lack of retail investor participation as all are waiting for March quarter for directions," said Prashan Fernando, COO at Acuity Stockbrokers.

Shares of conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc fell 1.34 percent, while biggest listed Lender Commercial bank of Ceylon Plc lost 2.03 percent and Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc declined 2.58 percent.

Turnover was 710.7 million rupees ($4.86 million), less than this year’s daily average of around 784 million rupees.

Foreign investors were net sellers of 3.93 billion rupees worth of shares so far this year, but they net bought 47.6 million rupees worth of shares on Tuesday.

The 14-day relative strength index, which is in an overbought region, stood at 75.128 on Tuesday, compared with Monday’s 83.127, according to Thomson Reuters data. A level of 70 and above indicates the market is overbought.






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