REUTERS: Sri Lankan shares fell yesterday in low turnover, retreating from a 17-month closing high, as investors awaited the Central Bank’s monetary policy review.
The Central Bank is expected to keep its key policy rates steady at more than three-year highs, a Reuters poll showed. The policy announcement is due today.
Investors are worried of a possible rate hike, said Jaliya Wijeratne, CEO, First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.
“Only a few counters traded today. Buyers want top blue chip John Keells Holdings, but sellers were not ready to sell at the price buyers wanted.”
Keells, outperforming the overall index, ended 0.7 percent firmer.
The Colombo stock index fell 0.3 percent to 6,714.73, slipping from its highest close since Jan. 7, 2016 hit in the previous session.
Turnover was Rs. 495.5 million (US$3.2 million), about half of this year’s daily average of Rs.905.7 million.
Foreign investors sold a net Rs.14.6 million (US$95,362) worth of shares yesterday, but they have been net buyers of Rs.20.86 billion of equities so far this year.
Shares of Ceylinco Insurance Plc lost 6.7 percent, while Hemas Holdings Plc ended 2.3 percent weaker, and BRAC Lanka Finance Plc fell 15.5 percent.