March 6, 2020 / 1:26 PM / 23 days ago

Sri Lanka shares close lower for third straight session

March 6 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan markets sank on Friday, closing in the red for a third straight session, weighed down by consumer staples and financial companies.

Global stock markets tumbled and government bonds rallied as disruptions to business from the spreading coronavirus epidemic worsened, stoking fears of a prolonged economic slowdown.

** The benchmark stock index closed 2.57% lower at 5,343.15. It lost 4.5% this week and is down 12.8% so far this year.

** Cigarette manufacturer Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc and conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc were the biggest drags on the CSE index, falling 4.5% and about 3%, respectively.

** Foreign investors were net sellers, offloading 491.8 mln Sri Lankan rupees ($2.70 mln) worth of shares, according to exchange data.

** The Sri Lankan rupee was last quoted at 181.85 against the U.S. dollar as of 12:30 GMT, 0.03% lower for the day, compared with last session’s close of 181.8, according to Refinitiv data.

** Equity market turnover was 827.7 mln Sri Lankan rupees, data showed.

** For a report on global markets, click

** For a report on major currencies, click

$1 = 181.8500 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Anuron Kumar Mitra in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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