May 22, 2017 / 12:06 PM / 2 months ago

Sri Lankan shares fall on profit-taking in blue chips

2 Min Read

COLOMBO, May 22 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares edged down on Monday as investors booked profits in blue chips such as John Keells Holdings Plc, with analysts saying the market was waiting for policy direction from newly-appointed finance minister Mangala Samaraweera.

President Maithripala Sirisena switched the finance and foreign ministers in a cabinet reshuffle on Monday, in a bid to restore confidence in the administration's handling of the economy.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.04 percent weaker at 6,726.90, slipping from its highest close since Jan. 7, 2016 hit on Friday.

The index rose 0.83 percent last week, and has climbed 11 percent since March 31 through Friday.

Turnover stood at 335.6 million rupees ($2.20 million), well below this year's daily average of 887.3 million rupees.

"The market is struggling to break the current psychological level. The market need a bit of a breather before it kickstarts again. We are seeing a bit of profit-taking," said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings PLC.

Foreign investors net sold shares worth 30.6 million rupees on Monday, but they have net bought 17.98 billion rupees worth of shares so far this year.

Shares in biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc fell 3.41 percent, while conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc ended 0.30 percent weaker. ($1 = 152.5000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)

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