Sri Lankan stocks end at 2-wk low;, diesel duty hike hurts

COLOMBO, Aug 26 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended at a two-week low on Friday in moderate volume as investors booked profits, while an increase in excise duty on diesel dragged on Lanka OIC, pulling down the overall index.

Sri Lanka’s finance ministry on Friday said it had increased the excise duty on diesel by 10 rupees with effect from Aug. 20, but there will not be any price increase in diesel at pumps. .

Shares in Lanka IOC fell 9.8 percent on Friday after the news on excise duty hike reached the market, stockbrokers said.

The benchmark Colombo stock index ended 0.59 percent down at 6,550.91, its lowest close since Aug. 12. It hit its highest close since May 20 on Tuesday.

"Investors have been taking profit and retail investors have been on the sidelines," said Prashan Fernando, COO at Acuity Stockbrokers.

Foreign investors bought a net 12.1 million rupees worth of shares on Friday, but they have been net sellers so far this year of 3.94 billion rupees worth of shares.

Turnover stood at 678.7 million rupees ($4.67 million), below this year’s daily average of around 750 million rupees.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc fell 2.4 percent, while Nestle Lanka closed 1.3 percent down.






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