Sri Lankan stocks end at over 3-wk low on weak global cues

COLOMBO, Feb 11 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares fell for the fourth straight session on Thursday to end at a more than three-week low, as weaker global markets weighed and as investors stayed off risky assets on concerns over rising domestic interest rates.

Turbulence tore through global markets on Thursday as investors sought the safety of Japanese yen, gold and top-rated bonds while dumping U.S. dollars on bets the Federal Reserve could be done with raising interest rates.

Sri Lanka’s main stock index ended 0.78 percent or 49.58 points weaker at 6,314.82, its lowest close since Jan. 20.

"Weak economic conditions are the main cause for the lack of confidence among the investors, and also the investors are expecting interest rates to go up further," said Dimantha Mathew, research manager at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

The key index has fallen 8.4 percent this year through Thursday.

Yields on t-bills rose between 8 and 17 basis points at a weekly auction on Wednesday, with the 182-day and the 364-day t-bill yields rising to over two-year highs, signalling a further rise in market interest rates.

Some investors are shifting to fixed interest rate-bearing assets due to a gradual rise in interest rates, analysts said.

Foreign investors were net buyers of 22.2 million rupees (about $154,273) worth shares on Thursday, but they have been net sellers of 188.7 million rupees worth of equities so far this year.

Turnover was 207.2 million rupees, less than a third of this year’s daily average of 749.99 million rupees.

Shares of conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc fell 2.4 percent, while Hemas Holdings Plc lost 4.9 percent and the biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc dropped by 1.40 percent.





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