August 31, 2018 / 12:22 PM / 9 months ago

Sri Lankan shares post weekly gain, but drop about 1 pct on month

COLOMBO, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares posted a weekly gain as they edged higher marginally on Friday, pulling further away from a 17-month low hit earlier this week.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.06 percent higher at 6,080.26, in its fourth gaining session in 15. It rose 0.4 percent this week, marking the second straight weekly gain.

The index, however, lost 1.1 percent in August, having hit its lowest close since March 2017 on Tuesday.

The day’s turnover was at 639 million rupees ($3.96 million), less than this year’s daily average of 813.3 million rupees.

“Gains are limited. There is a bit of profit taking from local investors and foreign investors,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at broker First Capital Holdings.

“Foreign selling is a worrying sign.”

Foreign investors sold a net 99.9 million rupees of shares on Friday, extending the net foreign selling so far this year to 4.2 billion rupees worth of shares.

Commercial Leasing and Fiance Plc shares ended 8.3 percent up, while BRAC Lanka Finance Plc closed 17.9 percent higher.

The central bank had left its key policy rates unchanged, as expected, on Aug. 3, citing its goals of stabilising inflation and fostering sustainable economic growth.

The economy is unlikely to grow more than 4 percent in 2018, falling short of an earlier estimate of 5 percent, Coomaraswamy said early this month.

$1 = 161.4000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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