COLOMBO Oct 19 Sri Lankan shares ended steady
at their lowest close in a month on Wednesday as investors
cautiously awaited directions from next month's national budget
and a flurry of corporate results.
The benchmark index of the Colombo Stock Exchange
ended 0.02 percent firmer at 6,444.39, hovering at its lowest
close since Sept. 20 hit in the previous session.
"Everybody is waiting for the budget and (and to see) if the
government will impose capital gain tax on equities," said
Hussain Gani, deputy CEO at Softlogic Securities.
"Institutional investors are holding their positions (given
their) experience of many surprises in the last year budget."
Stockbrokers said the market was also gradually factoring in
political concerns after the head of Sri Lanka's anti-corruption
body resigned on Monday, a few days after President Maithripala
Sirisena implied that the agency was favouring the rival party
of his prime minister.
This is likely to delay one of the promises of Sirisena's
coalition government to eliminate corruption and implement rule
of law, and might also hurt business confidence, analysts said.
Turnover stood at 483.4 million rupees ($3.29 million), less
than this year's daily average of around 741 million rupees.
Foreign investors, who have sold a net 2.1 billion rupees
worth of shares so far this year, bought a net 147 million
rupees worth equities on Tuesday. Top conglomerate John Keells
Holdings Plc ended 0.67 percent firmer.
Sri Lanka's quarterly earnings season started last week but
the bulk of locally listed firms will not report until late
October or early November.
($1 = 146.9000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Shihar Aneez; editing by Mark Heinrich)