May 10, 2018 / 12:32 PM / 15 days ago

Sri Lankan shrs end near 4-wk low; cbank policy meet awaited

COLOMBO, May 10 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares ended marginally lower on Thursday, near a four-week low, weighed down by losses in shares of diversified companies such as Distillers Sri Lanka Plc.

The market was also looking for the central bank decision on key monetary policy rates scheduled on Friday.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.06 percent weaker at 6,479.71, its lowest since April 11. The index lost 0.37 percent last week, its second straight weekly fall.

“There was selective trading. There was no change in the sentiment,” said Prashan Fernando, CEO at Acuity Stockbrokers.

President Maithripala Sirisena’s appeal to his own coalition government and the opposition in parliament on Tuesday to end a power struggle failed to cheer investors as weakness in the rupee continued to weigh.

The Sri Lankan rupee hit a fresh low last week on importer demand for the U.S. currency, dealers said.

Analysts said depreciation of the rupee also weighed on the sentiment as it is likely to dent the profits of some listed firms that rely heavily on imports.

Shares of Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka Plc closed 3.2 percent lower while Carson Cumberbatch Plc fell 3.4 percent and Lanka ORIX Leasing Plc ended 2 percent down and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc fell 0.7 percent.

Shares in conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc ended 0.1 percent down.

Fitch Ratings has said that recent political developments in Sri Lanka have created some uncertainty over reform momentum and fiscal consolidation, and prolonged upheaval could undermine investor confidence ahead of large external debt maturities in 2019-22.

Turnover stood at 618 million rupees ($3.92 million), less than this year’s daily average of 1.03 billion rupees.

Foreign investors net bought 86.8 million rupees worth of equities on Wednesday, but the market has seen a net foreign outflow to 400.2 million rupees worth of equities so far this year. ($1 = 157.8000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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