January 16, 2018 / 12:29 PM / 3 months ago

Sri Lankan shares extend fall to 2-week closing low

COLOMBO, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares fell for a fifth straight session on Tuesday and closed at their lowest in two weeks, as local retail investors booked profits in blue chips ahead of a long-delayed local election next month.

The Colombo Stock Index ended 0.4 percent weaker at 6,447.61, its lowest close since Jan. 2. It has shed 1.4 percent in the past five sessions.

“The market is coming down on profit-taking by local retailers in blue chips before the next rally after the election,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings.

“The good sign is that foreign buying continues, it looks like foreign investors are returning back to the Sri Lankan market.”

Foreign investors bought shares worth net 539.3 million rupees ($3.51 million) on Tuesday, extending the net foreign inflow so far this year to 2.87 billion rupees.

They had net bought 18.5 billion rupees worth equities in 2017 and 633.5 million rupees in 2016.

Turnover stood at 884.6 million rupees on Tuesday, less than last year’s daily average of 915.3 million rupees.

Shares in Hatton National Bank Plc fell 1.2 percent, Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc dropped 1.1 percent, and Nestle Lanka Plc slipped 1.1 percent.

Sri Lanka’s stock, bond, and foreign exchange markets were closed on Monday for a holiday. ($1 = 153.8500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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