Sri Lankan shares end lower as consumer staples, industrials weigh

Oct 28 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares closed over 1% lower on Wednesday, dragged down by consumer staples, industrials and financial stocks.

** The benchmark stock index ended down 1.41% at 5,600.20.

** Investment firms Carson Cumberbatch Plc and Bukit Darah Plc were the top drags to the index, falling 11.9% and 8.1%, respectively.

** Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday the Chinese Communist Party was operating as a “predator” in Sri Lanka, as the top U.S. diplomat kept up tough criticism of China on a tour of Asia.

** China has invested billions of dollars in Sri Lankan ports and highways as part of its Belt and Road Initiative of transport and energy links, a programme the United States believes is designed to trap smaller countries in debt.

** Trading volume on the CSE All Share Index, when compared to the last full trading day, was 16.9% higher at 64.6 million.

** Foreign investors were net sellers in the equity market, offloading 223.3 million Sri Lankan rupees ($1.21 million) worth of shares, according to exchange data.

** Equity market turnover was 1.25 billion rupees, exchange data showed.

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** For a report on major currencies, click ($1 = 184.2500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)