Sri Lanka stocks edge up on low rates; Foreign outflow continues

COLOMBO Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:44am EST

COLOMBO Jan 22 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's stock market edged up marginally on Tuesday, led by telecom shares on declining yields in government securities, but foreign outflows continued for a third day running as offshore investors sold banks.

The main share index closed 0.15 percent, or 8.91 points firmer, at 5,870.93 as yields in government securities fell on Tuesday at a weekly auction for a seventh straight week, with the 91-day t-bill yield falling to an 11-month low.

Foreign investors sold a net 225.1 million rupees worth of shares on Tuesday, extending the net outflow of foreign funds to 750 million rupees ($5.92 million) in the last three sessions.

That turned the year-to-date foreign flow to a net outflow of 114.94 million rupees. Sri Lanka enjoyed a record foreign inflow of 38.63 billion rupees last year.

"Foreign selling is continuing and it's a bit of a worrying sign," a stockbroker said on condition of anonymity.

Foreign investors mainly sold top lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon, which ended 0.57 percent weaker at 104.20 rupees.

Top mobile phone operator Dialog Axiata gained 3.57 percent and No.1 fixed-line phone operator Sri Lanka Telecom rose 2.35 percent in thin trading.

Turnover on Tuesday was 2.1 billion rupees ($16.58 million).

The rupee closed weaker at 126.75/85 to the dollar from Monday's close of 126.62/66. ($1 = 126.6750 Sri Lanka rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez)