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Sri Lankan stocks fall to over 6-wk low; foreigners exit
February 20, 2014 / 11:26 AM / in 4 years

Sri Lankan stocks fall to over 6-wk low; foreigners exit

COLOMBO, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares fell for a sixth straight session on Thursday to a more-than six-week low, led by market heavyweight Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC and foreign selling in the island nation’s risky assets.

The main stock index ended down 0.5 percent, or 30.08 points, at 5,956.16, its lowest close since Jan. 6. It has dropped 4.67 percent in the last 12 sessions.

Foreign investors sold a net 158.2 million rupees ($1.21 million) worth of shares on Thursday, extending the outflow to 4.83 billion rupees in the past 10 sessions as some offshore funds exited the market.

The bourse has seen 3.44 billion rupees of foreign outflows so far in 2014, after enjoying net inflows of 22.88 billion rupees last year.

Analysts said investors were concerned over possible further foreign outflows, though local investors are still optimistic about risky assets due to falling interest rates.

On Monday, Sri Lanka’s central bank kept its policy rates steady at multi-year lows while analysts said local investors were active in the market after interest rates on treasury bills eased to multi-year lows, making fixed-income assets unattractive.

Shares of market heavyweight Ceylon Tobacco Co Plc fell 2.4 percent, pulling the overall index down.

The index is still 0.73 percent up so far this year, following a 4.8 percent gain in 2013.

The day’s turnover was 851.6 million rupees, less than this year’s daily average of about 1.15 billion rupees. ($1 = 130.8700 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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