December 4, 2015 / 11:17 AM / 2 years ago

Sri Lankan shares edge down; budget proposals a concern for firms

COLOMBO, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares edged down on Friday, hovering near an eight-month closing low, on worries that the new budget proposals would hit earnings of financial firms.

Investor sentiment was also dented following Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s warning on Wednesday of lower economic growth in 2016 due to the global slowdown.

The main stock index ended 0.16 percent weaker at 6,869.56. On Wednesday, it closed at its lowest level since March 31 at 6,862.79.

The index was heading towards oversold territory with the 14-day Relative Strength Index at 30.523 versus Thursday’s 31.662, Reuters data showed. A level between 70-30 indicates the market is neutral.

“It was another dull day,” said Yohan Samarakkody, head of research at SC Securities (Pvt) Ltd., adding that foreign and retail participation was low.

“We expect this trend to continue till January,” he said.

Local institutions and retail investors remained on the sidelines, analysts said.

Foreign investors were net sellers for the first time in five sessions. They sold a net 13.2 million rupees worth of shares on Friday, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 3.49 billion rupees worth of equities so far this year.

Turnover was 371.9 million rupees, the lowest since July 21 and well below this year’s daily average of 1.1 billion rupees.

Shares of Nestle Lanka Plc dropped 2.07 percent, while John Keells Holdings Plc fell 0.39 percent and Distillers Company of Sri Lanka Plc eased 1.71 percent.

The government on Nov. 20 announced a raft of steps, including the removal of a 0.3 percent share transaction levy, to stimulate trading in the share market and increase liquidity.

Rating agency Fitch last week said Sri Lanka’s 2016 budget provides no clear plan for fiscal consolidation over the medium term and the absence of such a framework will put more pressure on the fiscal deficit.

$1 = 143.2000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Sunil Nair

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