January 6, 2020 / 1:11 PM / 2 months ago

Sri Lanka shares slip on rising Middle East tensions

COLOMBO, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares fell on Monday to their lowest in nearly four weeks, as escalating tensions in the Middle East lifted crude prices and shook investor confidence across the globe.

** Tensions in the Middle East after the U.S. killed a top Iranian general pulled down an index of Asian shares off an 18-month high on Monday as investors pushed safe-haven gold near a seven-year high, and oil jumped to four-month peaks.

** The benchmark Sri Lankan stock index closed down 0.68% at 6,066.93, the lowest level since Dec. 24, weighed down by financials and industrial stocks.

** Conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc was the top drag on the index, falling as much as 1.58%, while Hatton National Bank PLC fell 2.4% to a near three-month closing low and Commercial Leasing & Finance PLC dropped 5.3%.

** Foreign investors were net buyers in the equity market, adding 91.3 million Sri Lankan rupees ($503,863.13) worth of shares. ** The Sri Lankan rupee was last quoted at 181.20 against the dollar, Refinitiv data showed.

** Equity market turnover was 444.8 million Sri Lankan rupees.

** For a report on global markets, click

** For a report on major currencies, click ($1 = 181.2000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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