COLOMBO Aug 1 Sri Lankan stocks ended a tad
weaker on Friday, snapping a four-day winning streak as
investors booked profits in large-cap shares as foreigners
exited risky assets ahead of a key U.S. jobs report.
The main stock index ended 0.06 percent, or 3.77
points, weaker at 6,810.13, slipping from its highest close
since Sept. 20, 2011 hit on Thursday. It rose 6.82 percent in
July. The bourse is up 15.18 percent so far this year.
Expectation of strong corporate earnings, declining interest
rates and continued foreign buying have helped boost buying
risky assets in the island nation's $21.93 billion-worth stock
"Bit of profit-taking and the global worries dragged down
the market," a stockbroker said on condition of anonymity.
Global shares fell on Friday and the euro eased against the
dollar, hit by weak euro zone manufacturing data and nerves
ahead of a key U.S. jobs report.
Analysts said the market will wait and see how foreign
investors will react to the global situation and that earnings
hopes could still drive the market with lower interest rates.
Foreign investors were net sellers for the first time in
eight sessions. They have sold 77.9 million rupees ($598,300)
worth of shares on Friday, but have been net buyers of 10.89
billion rupees so far this year.
Turnover was 775 million rupees, less than this year's daily
average of about 1.09 billion rupees.
The index has been in the overbought region since July 3, as
local investors moved funds from fixed income to riskier assets
because of low interest rates and foreign buying.
Losses were led by large-cap share Ceylon Tobacco Company
Plc which fell 1.54 percent to 1,130.60 rupees while
Lion Brewery (Ceylon) Plc fell 2.33 percent to 625
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 by 7-10 basis
points at a weekly auction on Wednesday.
The International Monetary Fund urged Sri Lanka on Wednesday
to keep key interest rates on hold for the near term and said a
cautious approach is warranted.
($1 = 130.2000 Sri Lankan Rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil