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Sri Lankan shares hit 1-week closing low on profit-taking

COLOMBO, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares closed at a one-week low on Wednesday, falling for a third straight session on profit-taking, as investors waited for cues on short-term interest rates from a weekly auction of government securities, stock brokers said.

The main stock index ended 0.8 percent lower, or down 58.36 points, at 7,240.39, its lowest close since Aug. 26.

"The market is very dull as local participation is very low," said Dimantha Mathew, a research manager at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

Results of the weekly t-bill auction after markets closed showed yields of short-term government securities rose between 20 and 26 basis points, with benchmark 91-day t-bill yields hitting a more-than five-month high of 6.79 percent.

The country’s central bank kept key interest rates steady at record lows on Monday, with inflation seen lower in the next few months.

Foreign investors sold a net 36 million rupees ($267,658) worth of shares on Wednesday, extending the year to date net foreign outflow to 3.48 billion rupees.

Turnover stood at 661.5 million rupees, less than this year’s daily average of 1.16 billion rupees.

Shares in conglomerate John Keells Holdings fell 1.44 percent, while Ceylon Cold Stores Plc fell 5.08 percent, dragging down the overall index.

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