COLOMBO Feb 27 Sri Lankan shares fell on Monday
to hit their lowest close in more than two weeks as investors
were worried over rising interest rates, but foreign buying and
block deals in Expolanka Holdings boosted the
Foreign investors net bought 716.2 million rupees worth of
equities on Monday, reversing the year-to-date net foreign
outflow to an inflow of 580.7 million rupees worth of equities
so far this year.
The Colombo stock index ended down 0.24 percent at
6,122.04, its lowest close since Feb. 9.
"Selling pressure on John Keells brought the market down,"
said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Equities
"Investor sentiment is negative due to the rising interest
rates and most of the investors are on a wait-and-see approach,"
Shares in conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc
slid 1.20 percent, while Hatton National Bank Plc
slipped 2.04 percent.
Expolanka Holdings Plc, which accounted almost
half the day's turnover, climbed 1.72 percent on foreign buying.
Turnover stood at 1.35 billion rupees ($8.90 million), well
more than this year's daily average of 625.2 million rupees.
Yields on treasury bills have risen to a more-than-four-year
high since October, while the central bank has kept key policy
rates on hold.
($1 = 151.7500 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sherry