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Sri Lankan shares end lower; blue chips lead

DIMANTHA MATHEW, HEAD OF RESEARCH AT FIRST CAPITAL HOLDINGS PLC, SPEAKS TO REUTERS

JUNE 07, 2018

COLOMBO, June 7 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended weaker on Thursday, after breaching the psychological barrier of 6,400, pulled down by blue-chip shares such as John Keells Holdings Plc , brokers said.

Foreign investors, who were net sellers for the fist time in five sessions, sold a net 114.3 million rupees ($719,773.3) worth of equities on Thursday, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 576.1 million rupees worth of shares.

The Colombo stock index closed 0.57 percent weaker at 6,363.62.

Analysts expected a further decline in the index as there weren’t any positive news to boost market sentiment.

“The selling pressure is there after the index broke the psychological barrier of 6,400 on Wednesday,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings.

“We don’t see real positivity among the investors, and we expect the index to continue sliding till the next support level of 6,320.”
Most of the investors have adopted the wait-and-watch approach, hoping for some positive news especially on the economic front, analysts said.

Turnover was 545.7 million rupees, below this year’s daily average of 982.1 million rupees.

A weaker rupee, political uncertainty and the recent fuel price hike weighed on sentiment in the past week, as local investors mostly remained on the sidelines as they gauged the impact of the floods that killed 24 people in the island nation over the past two weeks, brokers said.

The rupee touched its record low of 158.90 per dollar on Thursday owing to the demand from importers for the greenback.

Shares in conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc ended 0.8 percent weaker, while Lanka ORIX leasing Plc closed 3.6 percent and Distiller Company of Sri Lanka Plc ended down 1.8 percent.