March 30, 2015 / 12:05 PM / 3 years ago

Sri Lankan shares fall for 6th session on margin calls, political woes

COLOMBO, March 30 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares fell for a sixth straight session on Monday and closed at their lowest in more than eight months as mostly retail investors sold their stocks to settle margin trading, while political worries also weighed on sentiment.

The main stock index ended down 1.33 percent, or 91.09 points, at 6,782.43, its lowest close since July 24 and moving away from a key psychological support level of 6,800. It has lost 7.31 percent in the past 21 sessions.

“Investors have been selling blue chips and political uncertainty still weighs,” a stockbroker said on condition of anonymity.

Analysts expect the next support level at 6,500.

Shares in Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, the country’s biggest listed lender, fell 2.46 percent. Top mobile phone operator Dialog Axiata Plc fell 2.78 percent.

The market heavyweight John Keells Holdings Plc fell 2.14 percent to a 32-month low of 195.50 rupees.

The day’s turnover was 457.3 million rupees ($3.44 million), less than half of this year’s daily average of 1.19 billion rupees.

Foreign investors were net sellers for the sixth straight session. They have sold a net 42.7 million rupees worth of shares on Monday, extending the net foreign selling in the past six sessions to 373.7 million rupees worth shares. But they have been net buyers of 2.98 billion rupees so far this year.

Analysts said concerns that the government’s decision-making process would slow down weighed on sentiment after President Maithripala Sirisena formed a national government incorporating the main opposition party in a bid to push through reforms and preserve political stability. ($1 = 132.9000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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