COLOMBO Feb 21 Sri Lankan shares hit a more
than one-week closing low on Tuesday, their fourth straight
session of losses, as investors sold shares of blue chip
companies such as John Keells Holdings Plc amid
concerns over rising interest rates.
The Colombo stock index fell 0.2 percent to
6,127.49, slipping to its lowest close since Feb. 9.
"We have seen some interest on retail sector counters," said
Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Equities
(Pvt) Ltd. "Investors are mainly waiting for some positive news
and now watching the direction of the fixed-income segment."
Yields on treasury bills rose 3 to 10 basis points at a
weekly auction on Tuesday. They have risen 44 to 73 basis points
since Oct. 7 to more than four-year highs, while the central
bank has kept key policy rates on hold.
Conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc dropped 0.6 percent,
while Ceylon Tea Services Plc fell 11.1 percent.
Turnover stood at 300.4 million rupees ($1.99 million), less
than half this year's daily average of 616.2 million rupees.
Foreign investors net bought 19.9 million rupees worth of
equities on Tuesday, but have net sold 252.8 million rupees
worth shares so far this year.
Investors are expected to wait for direction from the
outcome of a sovereign bond issue, analysts said.
The Sri Lankan cabinet last week approved a $1.5 billion
sovereign bond issue to repay loans and manage interest
($1 = 151.1500 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju