Sri Lanka stocks slip from near 3-year high on profit-taking

COLOMBO Fri Aug 15, 2014 7:37am EDT

COLOMBO Aug 15 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan stocks fell on Friday to end an eight-session winning streak as investors took profits in shares of large-caps, while foreigners also sold in an overbought market.

The main stock index finished lower 0.42 percent, or 29.24 points, at 6,943.85, edging down from its highest close in nearly three years hit on Thursday.

The index has gained 17.4 percent so far this year.

"It's a bit of profit-taking in blue-chips and a correction, since the market is struggling to pass the 7,000 mark we will see selling pressure for a while," said Dimantha Mathew, manager, Research, at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

The bourse saw net foreign outflows of 893.8 million rupees ($6.9 million) on Friday, but foreign investors have been net buyers of 11.78 billion rupees worth of shares so far this year.

Turnover, boosted by block deals in John Keells Holdings Plc , hit 2.94 billion rupees, more than double this year's daily average of 1.13 billion rupees.

Conglomerate John Keells, which accounted for 59.8 percent of the day's turnover and saw 4.4 million shares being sold by foreigners, fell 0.38 percent to 238 rupees a share.

Earlier in the day, the central bank held key policy rates at multi-year lows for the seventh straight month.

Union Bank of Colombo Plc fell 9.87 percent to 21 rupees a day after the bank said it had agreed to sell a 70 percent stake to a subsidiary of TPG Capital Management LP for $117 million.

Ceylon Tobacco Co Plc, which led the fall in the overall index, fell 0.91 percent to 1,184.90 rupees, while Carson Cumberbatch Plc fell 1.04 percent to 455 rupees. (1 US dollar = 130.1000 Sri Lankan rupee) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez)