February 5, 2014 / 11:41 AM / in 4 years

Sri Lankan shares at 2-week low despite foreign buying

COLOMBO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares fell to a
two-week low on Wednesday, led by declines in diversified and
banking shares despite foreign buying, though stockbrokers
expect the bourse to gain due to a lower interest-rate regime.
    The main stock index fell 0.70 percent, or 43.71
points, to 6,175.63, its lowest level since Jan. 21.
    "Signals are good for the market, but investors are awaiting
quarterly earnings and what might happen in the upcoming UNHRC
session in March," said a stockbroker asking not to be named. 
    Some stockbrokers said investors will shrug off political
risks from renewed pressure by the U.S. to bring a fresh
resolution against Sri Lanka at a U.N. Human Rights Council
meeting in March, because the market had been expecting the
    Foreign investors were net buyers of 63.8 million rupees
($488,400) worth of shares on Tuesday, extending year-to-date
net foreign inflows to 1.39 billion rupees. They bought 22.88
billion rupees worth of stocks last year.
    Shares of conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC 
fell 1.10 percent to 232.20 rupees, while Commercial Bank of
Ceylon PLC, the biggest listed lender on the bourse,
fell 5.20 percent to 120.40 rupees.    
    Stockbrokers said retail and institutional investors were
active in the market after interest rates on treasury bills
eased at a weekly auction on Wednesday to multi-year lows,
making fixed-income assets unattractive. 
    The index has risen 4.45 percent so far this year, following
a 4.8 percent gain in 2013. It fell in the previous two years.
    The day's turnover was 1.17 billion rupees, more than last
year's daily average of about 828.4 million rupees.
($1 = 130.6350 Sri Lanka rupees)

 (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by
Prateek Chatterjee)
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