June 8, 2018 / 11:43 AM / in 13 days

Sri Lankan shares at more than 5-mth closing low; blue-chips drag

COLOMBO, June 8 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares fell for a third straight session on Friday and ended at a more than five-month low, dragged down by diversified shares such as John Keells Holdings Plc, brokers said.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.14 percent weaker at 6,354.92, its lowest close since Dec 26.

“It was a slow day and we saw some foreign buying, which is a good sign. But most of the investors are waiting for better bargains,” said Hussain Gani, deputy CEO at Softlogic Stockbrokers.

“Economic concerns and the rupee depreciation are the key concern for investors.”

Most of the investors have adopted a wait-and-watch approach, hoping for some positive news on the economic front, analysts said.

Turnover was 326.2 million rupees ($2.05 million), a third of this year’s daily average of 975.8 million rupees.

Foreign investors bought net 12.5 million rupees worth of equities on Friday. The market, however, has witnessed a year-to-date net foreign outflow of 554.6 million rupees worth of shares.

A weaker rupee, political uncertainty and the recent fuel price hike weighed on sentiment in the past week with local investors remaining on the sidelines as they gauged the impact of the floods that killed 24 people in the island nation last month, brokers said.

The rupee touched a record low of 158.90 per dollar on Thursday owing to the greenback demand from importers.

Shares in the biggest listed lender, Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, fell 0.9 percent while Sri Lanka Telecom Plc ended 2.7 percent weaker. Conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc ended 0.5 percent weaker and Access Engineering Plc lost 4.0 percent. ($1 = 159.0000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez)

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