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Sri Lankan stocks slip from over 3-month high on profit-taking

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

FEBRUARY 23, 2018 

COLOMBO, Feb 22 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares on Thursday snapped a five-session winning streak and eased from a more than three-month high on profit-booking, while foreign buying in Commercial Bank Plc boosted the daily traded turnover.

Hopes of political stability after two key parties decided to remain in the ruling coalition, allayed fears of a government collapse and that helped heavy buying to boost the day’s turnover.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.41 percent weaker at 6,571.73, slipping from its highest close since Nov. 6, 2017 hit on Wednesday.

Turnover stood at 1.54 billion rupees ($9.93 million), well above the year’s daily average of 869.6 million rupees.

Foreign investors bought a net 660.5 million rupees worth of shares, extending net foreign buying to 6.4 billion rupees worth of equities so far this year.

“There was a bit of selling today. Basically, whatever stocks moved up over the last few days were sold … may be due to profit-taking by a fund,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings.

“A large block of Commercial Bank shares was bought by foreigners, boosting the turnover.”

Shares in Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc fell 2.9 percent while conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc lost 0.5 percent and Dialog Axiata Plc ended 0.7 percent down.

Shares in biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, which accounted for 52.6 percent of day’s turnover, ended 0.7 percent up.

The index dropped 0.13 percent last week, ending a three-week winning streak.

$1 = 155.1500 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan