(Colombo) REUTERS: Sri Lankan shares fell for a third straight session yesterday to near one-week low, dragged down by banking and diversified shares, while the rupee ended weaker due to importer dollar demand.
The country’s benchmark stock index closed 0.64 percent down at 5,897.26. The index is down about 2.56 percent so far this year. The stock market had a turnover of Rs.682.7 million (US$3.87 million), just above this year’s daily average of about Rs.639.3 million so far.
Last year’s daily average came in at Rs.834 million. Foreign investors sold a net Rs.169.7 million worth of shares yesterday, but they have been net buyers of Rs.626.4 million worth of equities so far this year,according to index data.
Shares of biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc fell 3.01 percent, Hatton National Bank Plc declined 2.7 percent, conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc ended 0.7 percent weaker, and Ceylinco Insurance Plc closed
4.74 percent down. Meanwhile, the currency slipped for a fourth straight session and ended weaker at 176.50/60 per dollar compared with Wednesday’s close of 176.30/45. However, the rupee is up 3.5 percent so far this year.
The central bank left key interest rates unchanged on July 11 as expected, after cutting them in May to support the economy as tourism and investment plummeted in the wake of deadly suicide bombings in April.
Foreign investors sold a net Rs.3.74 billion worth of government securities in the week ended July 24, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to Rs.22.19 billion, Central Bank data showed.