COLOMBO Feb 9 Sri Lankan shares closed slightly
weaker on Thursday, snapping two straight sessions of gains and
hovering near a more than 10-month closing low hit earlier this
week, as concerns over rising market interest rates weighed on
The Colombo stock index ended 0.04 percent lower at
6,094.15. The index hit its lowest close since March 2016 on
"Interest rates are the real concern," said Prashan
Fernando, CEO at Acuity Stockbrokers. "If the central bank
raises the rates, it is going to hit the market."
The central bank on Tuesday kept its key rates steady for a
sixth straight month, but flagged possible "corrective measures"
in the months ahead in a sign further tightening might be on the
cards to temper inflation pressures and safeguard a fragile
Sri Lankan stocks, which have been declining since October,
have been hit by political uncertainty arising from a decision
of the ruling coalition parties to contest local polls
separately, and on worries over a rise in market interest rates.
Yields on treasury bills rose 2-8 basis points at a weekly
auction on Tuesday, hovering at more than four-year high.
Market turnover was 719.3 million rupees ($4.78 million)
($3.37 million) on Thursday, more than this year's daily average
of 620.2 million rupees.
Foreign investors, who have been net sellers of 703.8
million rupees worth of shares so far this year, net bought
322.2 million rupees worth of equities.
Shares of John Keells Holdings Plc rose 0.34
percent, while Sri Lanka Telecom Plc fell 2.51 percent
and Dialog Axiata Plc declined 1.85 percent.
Sri Lanka's stock and foreign exchange markets will be
closed on Friday for a Buddhist religious holiday.
($1 = 150.5000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by