Sri Lankan shares end lower; post 3rd straight weekly fall

Reuters – Sri Lankan shares fell for a seventh straight session on Friday to their lowest closing level in more than 13 weeks, led by manufacturing and telecommunication stocks.

The Colombo stock index edged down 0.06 percent to 6,567.43, its lowest close since May 3. The bourse fell 1.48 percent for the week, its third straight weekly fall.

The index slipped 1.6 percent in July, but has risen about 6 percent this year as of close of trade on July 31.

Shares of conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc dropped 0.6 percent, while Dialog Axiata Plc slipped 0.9 percent and Chevron Lubricants Lanka Plc fell 2.03 percent.

“There were lower market activities, as investors are waiting to see the direction of the market,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Holdings.

Foreign investors net bought shares worth 80.6 million rupees (about $525,424) on Friday, extending their year-to-date net inflow to 26.5 billion rupees.

Turnover stood at 405.1 million rupees ($2.64 million), less than half this year’s daily average of around 893.3 million rupees.

Analysts however expect equities to gain due to a fall in the yields of government bonds.

Sri Lanka’s central bank held policy rates steady on Thursday, and said tightening measures taken in the past are helping cool inflation and credit growth. Short-term treasury-bond yields fell between 41 basis points (bps) and 55 bps at a weekly auction on Wednesday.

In last week’s auction, the weighted average yield on a 59-month bond dropped by 99 bps, while that on an 118-month bond fell by 78 bps.

Sri Lanka’s stock and foreign exchange markets will remain closed on Monday for a Buddhist religious holiday.

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