Sri Lankan stocks end lower on profit-taking

COLOMBO, Aug 29 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares fell in moderate volume for a second straight session on Monday as investors booked profits.

The increase in excise duty on diesel, which dragged on Lanka OIC, also pulled down the index, brokers said.

Sri Lanka’s finance ministry on Friday said it had increased the excise duty on diesel by Rs10 with effect from August 20, but there will not be any price increase in diesel at pumps.

Shares in Lanka IOC ended down 2.12 percent on Monday. They fell 10.58 percent during Friday’s session after news of the excise duty hike.

The benchmark Colombo stock index ended 0.16 percent down at 6,540.19, its lowest close since August 12. It hit its highest close since May 20 on Tuesday.

The bourse fell 0.78 percent last week, recording its first weekly fall in four weeks.

"We are experiencing a bit of profit-taking," said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

"But the overall investor sentiment is improving continuously, with investors bullish on the construction sector as the government is announcing new expressway constructions and other development projects."

Foreign investors bought a net Rs212.8 million ($1.46 million) worth of shares on Monday, extending the net foreign inflow so far this month to Rs939.3 million worth of equities, but have been net sellers of Rs3.71 billion worth of shares so far this year.

Turnover stood at Rs889.9 million, more than this year’s daily average of Rs753.4 million.

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Shares in Dialog Axiata Plc fell 0.88 percent, while Vallibel One Plc dropped 2.74 percent and Cargills Ceylon Plc decreased 1.63 percent.

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