REUTERS: Sri Lankan shares closed marginally lower yesterday, posting their lowest closing level in nearly six weeks, as a government proposal to raise the value-added tax (VAT) hurt market sentiment. The government yesterday said the Cabinet has approved a proposal to increase the VAT to 15 percent from 11 percent with some amendments, a move halted by the Supreme Court earlier. The hike is expected to be implemented after parliamentary approval later this month. The benchmark Colombo stock index ended 0.24 percent lower at 6,492.74, its lowest close since August 4. “Investors are worried about the VAT hike. Profit-taking was also there,” said Atchuthan Srirangan, a senior research analyst with First Capital Equities (Pvt.) Ltd.
Turnover stood at Rs.749.9 million, in line with this year’s daily average of Rs.747.2 million. Foreign investors, who have been net sellers of Rs.2.29 billion worth of shares so far this year, were net buyers of Rs.407.3 million worth of equities yesterday. Shares of Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC fell 4.38 percent, while Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC dropped 1.21 percent