January 22, 2018 / 11:50 AM / in 3 months

Sri Lankan shares drop in dull trade; banks top drag

COLOMBO, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares declined on Monday, marking their eighth session of fall in nine, as investors sold banking stocks in dull trade.

The Colombo Stock index ended 0.34 percent weaker at 6,421.40. On Thursday, it closed at its lowest since Dec. 29.

The bourse has shed 2 percent in the past nine sessions, and dropped 0.47 percent last week, recording its second straight weekly fall.

“The market was quiet till late. We saw some activities in the latter part of the day,” said Hussain Gani, Deputy CEO at Softlogic Stockbrokers.

“There were some selling in banks which brought the market down,” he said, adding that investors were waiting to see clarity on the political front from a local election which will be held on Feb. 10 after a long delay.

Turnover stood at 460.7 billion rupees, half of last year’s daily average of 915.3 million rupees.

However, foreign investors bought a net 196.6 million rupees worth of shares on Monday, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow so far this year to 2.9 billion rupees worth of shares.

They bought equities worth 18.5 billion rupees last year and 633.5 million rupees in 2016.

After market hours on Friday, diversified company Hemas Holdings Plc said it will acquire 75.1 percent of stationery manufacturer Atlas Axillia Co (Pvt) Ltd for 5.7 billion rupees. Hemas fell 5.4 percent on Monday.

Shares in Lanka ORIX Leasing Co Plc dropped 3.5 percent, while Hatton National Bank Plc declined 1.1 percent. ($1 = 153.8500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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