Sri Lankan stocks end steady; turnover moderate

COLOMBO, Aug 25 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended steady on Thursday in moderate trading volume as local buying boosted by positive sentiment was offset by foreign outflows and selling for month-end settlement.

Sentiment has been positive after the authorities started to take some bold steps to counter a balance of payments and credit problem.

Sri Lanka’s new government is drafting reforms aimed at simplifying taxes, widening the tax base and increasing compliance, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said on Wednesday, two days after his ministry said the country’s tax revenue in the first seven months jumped 23 percent to 769.8 billion rupees from a year earlier.

The benchmark Colombo stock index ended 0.02 percent up at 6,589.71, hovering around its highest close since May 20 hit on Tuesday.

"There was some profit-taking due to month-end settling though the market is still on positive sentiment," said Prashan Fernando, COO at Acuity Stockbrokers.

Foreign investors sold a net 78.4 million rupees worth of shares on Thursday, extending the outflow so far this year to 3.94 billion rupees worth of shares. They are, however, net buyers of 714.4 million rupees worth of equities so far this month.

Turnover stood at 624.5 million rupees ($4.30 million), below this year’s daily average of around 750 million rupees.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc edged up 0.4 percent, while private lender Sampath Bank fell 0.6 percent.

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