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Sri Lankan stocks fall in thin trade

(EconomyNext) – Sri Lankan stocks closed lower Monday, dragged down by falls in shares with a heavy weighting on the benchmark index, with turnover also slumping as trading slowed down in the run up to the Christmas holidays, brokers said.

The All Share Price Index closed at 7,230.26, down 6.11 points (0.08 percent) while the S&P SL20 index, which tracks the top 20 largest and most liquid stocks on the Colombo Stock Exchange, fell 5.53 points (0.14 percent) to 4,069.61.

Turnover slumped to a near six-month low of 340 million rupees with no crossings or negotiated off-market deals.

John Keells Holdings fell 1.10 rupees (0.43 percent) to 252 rupees, contributing 52 million rupees to turnover while Carson Cumberbatch closed at 425.20 rupees, down 4.80 (1.12 percent) on a single trade of 200 shares.

The Finance Company shares were actively traded with the stock closing at 23.20 rupees, up 1.70 (7.9 percent).

The stock market turned choppy after a snap presidential poll was announced last month. It will be held on January 8, 2015 with President Mahinda Rajapaksa challenged by a defector from his own party who joined the opposition as its common candidate.

Retail interest was more towards low valued stocks like Blue Diamond voting and non-voting and TFC non-voting, Bartleet Religare Securities said.

Foreign investors were net buyers, with a net foreign inflow of 61 million rupees, going into John Keells Holdings, Commercial Bank, and Tokyo Cement.

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