January 3, 2017 / 1:24 PM / 3 years ago

Sri Lanka shares end at 9-month low; Keells down

COLOMBO, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares fell for a third straight session on Tuesday, hitting a nine-month closing low, as investors sold shares of market heavyweight John Keells Holdings Plc amid worries over a weakening rupee and rising interest rates.

The Colombo stock index ended down 0.54 percent at 6,159.12, its lowest close since April 5. The bourse fell 9.7 percent in 2016, its second straight annual decline.

The bourse dipped into oversold territory on Tuesday with the 14-day relative strength index at 29.238 points versus Monday’s 33.320, Thomson Reuters data showed. A level between 30 and 70 indicates the market is neutral.

“Keells selling brought the market down. A high net worth investor is selling Keells and that keeps market worried,” said Reshan Kurukulasuriya, chief operating officer, Richard Pieris Securities (Pvt) Ltd.

Shares in John Keells Holdings ended 0.71 percent lower.

In dollar terms, Sri Lanka’s stock market fell 13 percent in 2016, performing worse than emerging markets like Malaysia , Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore .

Stockbrokers said Sri Lanka’s failure to attract foreign direct investment and lack of investor confidence due to a reversal in some budget policies weighed on the market and on the rupee, which fell 3.9 percent in 2016 and continues to be weak.

Turnover stood at 353.9 million rupees ($2.36 million).

Foreign investors sold a net 43.5 million rupees of equities on Tuesday, extending the net foreign outflow in the first two days of the year to 69.9 million rupees.

Shares in Hemas Holdings Plc dropped 3.8 percent while Aitken Spence Plc fell 6.57 percent.

$1 = 149.8000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil Nair

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