September 4, 2017 / 1:00 PM / 20 days ago

Sri Lankan shares end near two-week low ahead of holiday

COLOMBO, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares fell to a near two-week low on Monday as investors sold diversified and telecom shares in lacklustre trade ahead of a holiday, while the daily turnover got a boost from block trades.

The Colombo stock index resumed trade after a holiday on Friday and ended 0.08 percent down at 6,385.56, its lowest close since Aug.24. The country’s stock and foreign exchange markets will remain closed on Tuesday for a religious holiday.

The bourse ended 0.3 percent lower last week, its seventh straight weekly fall. It has shed more than 4 percent since July 27 up to Monday’s close.

Shares of Dialog Axiata Plc fell 0.9 percent and diversified conglomerate Hemas Holdings Plc ended 1.1 percent weaker.

“Things were very dull and it was a very slow day. Thanks to some block deals we saw healthy turnover,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Holdings. “The positive sign is that there were some buying interest in blue chips.”

“Investors are waiting to see the tax confirmation following the Inland Revenue Bill,” Mathew said.

The bill, Sri Lanka’s major tax reform since independence from Britain in 1948, seeks to expand the tax net and stamp out evasion. It is expected to be presented in the parliament on Sept. 6.

Turnover stood at 923.2 million Sri Lankan rupees ($6.06 million), more than this year’s daily average of around 858.4 million rupees. ($1 = 152.3500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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