August 14, 2018 / 1:03 PM / a year ago

Sri Lankan shares edge lower to 5-week closing low

COLOMBO, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares edged lower in thin trade on Tuesday and posted their lowest close in nearly five weeks, as lacklustre corporate results dented investor sentiment for the island nation’s risky assets, stockbrokers said.

The Colombo stock index fell 0.26 percent to 6,113.00, its lowest close since July 11 and third straight session of declines. The index has declined about 3.8 percent so far this year.

Turnover was 380.4 million rupees ($2.38 million) on Tuesday, less than a half of this year’s daily average of 837.1 million rupees.

“There is an overall slowdown on the buying side from both foreign and local (investors). There was buying interest on select counters. John Keells dragged the overall index,” said Hussain Gani, deputy CEO at Softlogic Stockbrokers.

“June-quarter corporate results have failed to give any bullish reasons for the market to gain.”

Global worries also weighed on sentiment, brokers said.

Emerging equities hit a 13-month low in Asian trading after disappointing Chinese data, before recovering to trade flat in the European session.

Foreign investors, however, bought shares worth a net 112.5 million rupees, after having sold a net 2.64 billion rupees worth of equities so far this year.

Shares in John Keells and top lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon fell 1 percent each.

The central bank left its key policy rates unchanged, as expected, on Aug. 3, citing its goals of stabilising inflation and fostering sustainable economic growth.

Central bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said the economy was unlikely to grow more than 4 percent in 2018, falling short of an earlier estimate of 5 percent. ($1 = 160.0500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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