Sri Lanka shares slip on profit taking; foreigners buy

COLOMBO, July 24 Thu Jul 24, 2014 7:55am EDT

COLOMBO, July 24 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan stocks slipped on Thursday for a second straight session, moving further away from Tuesday's 34-month closing high as investors booked profits, brokers said.

The main stock index ended 0.04 percent, or 2.58 points lower at 6,781.40, slipping further away from the highest close since Sept. 20, 2011, hit on Tuesday. It has gained 6.35 percent so far this month.

The index has been in the overbought region since July 3, having risen 14.73 percent so far this year as local investors moved funds from fixed income to riskier assets in view of the low interest rates.

"Profit-taking continued today also. We might see a bit of profit-taking," said a stock broker asking not to be named.

Turnover was 950 million rupees ($7.30 million), less than this year's daily average of about 1.09 billion rupees.

Foreign investors were net buyers of 55.8 million rupees worth of shares on Thursday, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow in shares to 10.37 billion rupees.

Shares of conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc fell 0.04 percent to 239.80 rupees while Carsons Cumberbatch Plc fell 1.96 percent to 480 rupees.

Lower interest rates have prompted local investors to buy shares and move away from unattractive fixed assets, analysts said.

Yields on treasury bills edged down further at a weekly auction on Wednesday.

Foreigners have been buying risky assets because they see value in them, analysts said. ($1 = 130.2000 Sri Lankan Rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)