By Shihar Aneez
COLOMBO, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares fell 0.94 percent on Tuesday as investors locked in profits on some shares, while the rupee closed unchanged at its all-time closing low on importer demand for dollars.
The Colombo All-Share index .CSE fell 17.07 points to 1800.99, from its highest close since Nov. 13.
It had risen 5.7 percent in the previous three sessions on a surge in investor confidence driven by the military's capture of rebel strongholds, including the last big rebel-held town over the weekend, moving a step closer to finishing off one of Asia's longest-running insurgencies.
The bourse is up about 20 percent so far this year after falling 40.8 percent last year on earnings and economic woes, including high borrowing costs.
"Retail investors who drove the market the last few days sold shares for profit taking," said Hussain Gani, associate director at Asia Securities.
Sri Lanka's top conglomerate John Keells Holdings JKH.CM closed down 1.07 percent to 69.25 rupees, calculated on a weighted average, while Market heavyweight Sri Lanka Telecom SLTL.CM fell 2.08 percent to 36.25 rupees.
Alcohol beverage manufacturer Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka DIST.CM closed 1.39 percent weaker at 71 rupees.
Shares in Commercial Bank of Ceylon COMB.CM rose 2.34 percent to 98.25 rupees a share, after a court case that threatened its receipt of payment for oil price hedges was dismissed. [nCOL362187]
Market turnover was 102.6 million rupees ($0.9 million), less than a quarter of the 2008 daily average of 464 million rupees.
The rupee LKR= closed flat at 113.99/114.05 per dollar, at the record closing low it hit on Monday on importer demand for dollars by a state bank, currency dealers said.
The rupee hit an all-time low of 114.15 a dollar in trading on Jan. 5. It has fallen 0.89 percent so far this year.
Sri Lanka's total external reserves including gross official reserves held by the central bank and government, and external reserves of domestic commercial banks as at the end of November was $3.9 billion dollars, the central bank said on Tuesday.
On Thursday, the Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal told Reuters the country would avoid a foreign exchange crisis through a number of measures that are already under way to boost reserves. [nCOL35421]
The country's gross official foreign reserves at the end of November, the latest data available, were $2.03 billion. That is sufficient to fund only 1.7 months of imports and is down by a third since the beginning of 2008.
The interbank lending rate or call money rate CLIBOR rose to 14.605 percent from Monday's 13.999 percent.
For secondary market rates, please see <0#LKBMK=>. ($1=114.02 Sri Lankan rupees)