Sri Lanka bourse hits 3-wk closing low on large-cap fall; foreigners exit

Fri Feb 7, 2014 7:05am EST

COLOMBO, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares fell for a
fourth straight session on Friday to end at a three-week closing
low on falls in large-cap shares while foreign investors dumped
risky assets as part of a selloff in emerging markets.
    The main stock index fell 0.43 percent, or 26.78
points, to 6,141.72, its lowest close since Jan. 17.
    Foreign investors sold a net 460 million rupees ($3.52
million) worth of shares on Friday, extending the foreign
outflow to 3.42 billion rupees in the last two sessions. 
    The bourse has seen 2.03 billion rupees of foreign outflow
so far in 2014, after enjoying a net inflow of 22.88 billion
last year.
    "The good news is that local funds and high net worth
investors are buying. That means local confidence is building
up," said a stockbroker. "We have to wait and see whether the
foreign selling will continue."
    Shares in Nestle Lanka PLC fell 3.23 percent to
2,100 rupees, while market heavyweight Ceylon Tobacco Company
PLC fell 1.00 percent to 1,252.40 rupees. 
    Shares in top-listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC
 fell 2.36 percent to 120.10 rupees. 
    Foreign investors sold a net 166,880 shares of conglomerate
John Keells Holdings PLC and 47.5 million shares in top
mobile phone operator Dialog Axiata PLC, which gained
0.17 percent and 3.3 percent respectively.
    Analysts said investors have been waiting for directions
from December-quarter earnings and an upcoming UNHRC session in
March where Sri Lanka is facing a US-sponsored resolution for
alleged human rights violations. 
    Some stockbrokers said investors will shrug off political
risks from renewed pressure by the United States to bring a
fresh resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC meeting in
March, because the market had been expecting the worst.
    Stockbrokers said local investors are active in the market
after interest rates on treasury bills eased to multi-year lows,
making fixed-income assets unattractive. 
    The index has risen 3.87 percent so far this year, following
a 4.8 percent gain in 2013. It fell in the previous two years.
    The day's turnover was 1.28 billion rupees, well above last
year's daily average of about 828.4 million rupees.
($1 = 130.6500 Sri Lanka rupees)

 (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil
Nair)
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.