May 3, 2018 / 12:08 PM / 3 months ago

Sri Lankan stocks edge higher as financials gain

COLOMBO, May 3 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares ended marginally firmer, led by financials, though gains were muted as investors looked for fresh cues from political and economic fronts, brokers said.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.08 percent higher at 6,523.88, recovering from its lowest since April 24 hit in the previous session. The index lost 0.15 percent last week.

“There is no sentiment booster for the market. The turnover was very low and investors are keen to see some positive factors in political and economical fronts,” said Prashan Fernando, CEO at Acuity Stockbrokers.

Top lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed 0.3 percent firmer while Sampath Bank ended 0.4 percent higher.

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.

The Sri Lankan rupee hit a fresh low on Wednesday on importer demand for the U.S. currency, dealers said, but recovered after the central bank intervened in the market.

Fitch Ratings said on Thursday 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 463.2 million rupees ($2.94 million), less than half of this year’s daily average of 1.05 billion rupees.

Foreign investors bought a net 46.3 million rupees worth of equities on Thursday, but the market has seen a net foreign outflow to 622.7 million rupees worth of equities so far this year.

$1 = 157.8000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan

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