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Sri Lankan stocks slip for second day; earnings eyed

COLOMBO, July 21 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan stocks edged down on Tuesday, marking their second straight loss as investors stayed on the sidelines awaiting cues from June-quarter corporate earnings.

The main stock index ended down 0.03 percent, or 2.27 points, at 7,145.59. It closed at its highest since June 1 on Friday as hopes of political stability after the Aug. 17 parliamentary polls lifted sentiment.

Turnover stood at 334.8 million rupees ($2.50 million) on Tuesday, the lowest since July 14 and well below this year’s daily average of 1.06 billion rupees.

Foreign investors were net buyers for the first time in five sessions, with a net purchase of 28.3 million rupees. They have sold a net 966.7 million rupees worth of shares so far this year.

"Nothing much is happening as there are no big news to move the market. Many investors are awaiting the earnings," said Dimantha Mathew, a research manager at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

Shares in Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka fell 3.39 percent, while Aitken Spence dropped 2.68 percent and the nation’s biggest listed lender, Commercial Bank of Ceylon, declined 0.65 percent.

Last Tuesday, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena criticised a comeback bid by Mahinda Rajapaksa, the rival he beat in elections last January, and his own allies for backing him to become prime minister.

Analysts see Sirisena’s statement as a step towards strengthening his grip and one that is likely to help the ruling coalition win.

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