COLOMBO Jan 10 Sri Lankan shares erased early
gains to end marginally lower on Tuesday as yields on short-term
government securities rose in a weekly auction amid uncertainty
over government's monetary and budget policies.
Yields on treasury bill auctions rose 9-19 basis points at a
weekly auction on Tuesday to its four-month high, rising for the
second straight session after the central bank governor
signalled reduced intervention to defend the currency.
The Colombo stock index ended 0.05 percent down at
6,152.59, slightly above its lowest closing since April 4, hit
on Thursday. Last week, the index fell 0.64 percent and was down
9.7 percent for 2016, its second straight annual decline.
The day's turnover was at 344.5 million rupees.
"Interest in the market was very low as the current
uncertainty is keeping investors away from equities," said
Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Equities
"There was no huge selling pressure. Because of rising
market interest rates, new buyers won't be coming in while the
existing investors will hold on."
Foreign investors bought a net 18.5 million rupees
($123,333) worth of equities on Tuesday. However, foreign
investors have been net sellers to the tune of 798.5 million
rupees so far this year.
They were net buyers for a third straight session on
Tuesday, after offloading shares for five sessions through
Shares in biggest listed lender, Commercial Bank of Ceylon
Plc, fell 1.34 percent while DFCC Bank Plc
fell 1.90 percent and Teejay Lanka Plc fell 3.11
Conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc fell 0.64
($1 = 150.0000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas