December 4, 2014 / 6:24 AM / 4 years ago

Sri Lankan bourse up low volumes; rupee-forwards steady

COLOMBO, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan stocks edged higher on Thursday amid low volumes with investors cautious due to political uncertainty ahead of the Jan. 8 presidential poll.

At 0549 GMT, the main stock index was up 0.08 percent at 7,280.36.

“The market is fizzling out, even local sentiment is flat. We can see buying is coming in slowly,” said a stockbroker, asking not to be named. “...they will wait till prices come down.”

Nine loyalists from President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s United People’s Freedom Alliance, including Health Minister Mithripala Sirisena, have defected since Rajapaksa announced snap elections last week. Sirisena resigned to contest against Rajapaksa as the consensus candidate of a united opposition.

Speculation over more defections also weighed on sentiment, analysts said.

Turnover stood at 376.4 million rupees ($2.86 million), with 20.9 million shares changing hands.

Four-day rupee forwards traded steady as importer dollar demand offset greenback sales by exporters, dealers said.

The spot currency and three-day forwards, or spot-next, were not traded after the central bank capped the currency at predetermined levels to prevent volatility.

Central bank officials were not available for comment.

Dealers said four-day forwards, or spot-next-next, traded steady at 131.80/85 per dollar at 0558 GMT. ($1 = 131.5000 Sri Lankan rupee) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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