November 19, 2012 / 11:31 AM / 5 years ago

Sri Lankan stocks at near 3-week low on foreign selling

COLOMBO, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan stocks fell on Monday for a fourth straight session to a near three-week low, largely on foreign selling and as investors looked elsewhere after the central bank kept its policy rates unchanged at a three-year high, dealers said.

A British-based foreign fund sold 100 million shares in Environmental Resources Investment PLC, which fell 0.46 percent to 16.20 rupees, to a local firm, resulting in a 1.66 billion rupee ($12.77 million) net outflow, the largest foreign outflow since July 19.

The Colombo Stock Exchange’s main index fell 0.94 percent, or 52.39 points, to end at 5,503.93, its lowest since Nov. 1.

Analysts said investors had been shifting to fixed deposits from equities due to high interest rates as the central kept key policy rates at three-year highs after the market closed on Friday.

“Except for the block deals, the market is very quiet due to high interest rates and earnings are also not striking,” said a stockbroker who declined to be identified.

Turnover was 3.68 billion rupees, the highest since Sept. 26, well above this year’s daily average of 912.9 million rupees.

The rupee closed weaker at 130.15/20 to the dollar compared with Friday’s close of 129.90/130.00 on importer dollar demand, dealers said. ($1 = 129.9500 Sri Lanka rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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