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Sri Lankan shares fall to over 4-mth closing low amid budget uncertainty

COLOMBO, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares fell for a fifth straight session on Monday and closed at their lowest in more than four months, led by large caps as uncertainty over the upcoming budget dented investor sentiment.

The main stock index fell below a key psychological barrier of 7,000 points, closing down 0.51 percent, or 35.83 points, at 6,965.98, its lowest close since July 9.

Brokers said trading volume was low as investors stayed on the sidelines awaiting policy direction from the annual budget scheduled later this week.

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake will present the 2016 budget in parliament on Friday. He has said the budget will be "capital oriented".

"Everybody is waiting for Friday’s budget. The biggest catalyst is the budget, so investors are cashing out and awaiting till Friday," said Yohan Samarakkody, head of research at SC Securities (Pvt) Ltd.

But foreign investors, who have been net sellers of 3.54 billion rupees worth of equities so far this year, bought a net 63.2 million rupees ($445,384.07) on Monday.

Turnover was 677.3 million rupees ($4.77 million), lower than this year’s daily average of 1.1 billion rupees.

Shares of Bukit Darah Plc fell 5.93 percent, while Sri Lanka Telecom Plc, which on Friday posted a 73 percent fall in third-quarter earnings, dropped 2.83 percent.
 (Colombo/November 16 2015)

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