May 24, 2018 / 12:05 PM / 3 months ago

Sri Lankan shares edge up from 1-week closing low

COLOMBO, May 24 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares rose slightly on Thursday after posting their lowest close in more than one week in the previous session, as investors picked up beverage stocks while block deals lifted turnover.

Investors continued to stay on the sidelines as they waited for some cues about the real impact of floods, while worries over a weaker rupee, political uncertainty and recent fuel price hike also weighed on sentiment.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.1 percent firmer at 6,472.21, edging up from its lowest close since May 15 hit on Wednesday.

Turnover was 652.7 million rupees ($4.13 million), less than this year’s daily average of 979.6 million rupees.

The market will continue to move side ways until it sees a clear picture, said Atchuthan Srirangan, assistant manager-research at First Capital Holdings Plc.

Heavy monsoon rains have killed 12 people, prompting authorities to warn against landslides and floods in low-lying areas after spill gates had to be opened across the Indian Ocean island.

Foreign investors, who have been net sellers of shares worth 296.2 million rupees so far this year, net bought equities worth 300.8 million rupees on Thursday.

Shares of Distillers Company of Sri Lanka Plc rose 2.3 percent, Lion Brewery (Ceylon) Plc ended up 2.7 percent and Sri Lanka Telecom Plc closed 1.9 percent firmer.

Stock brokers said investors were waiting for more clarity on the political and economic front amid recent fuel price hike, while the depreciation in rupee also weighed on sentiment.

The rupee hit a fresh low of 158.50 per dollar on May 16 on importer demand for the U.S. currency.

Analysts said concerns over political instability following President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to suspend the parliament last month after 16 legislators from his ruling coalition defected, dented market sentiment.

On May 8, Sirisena urged his own coalition government and the opposition to end a power struggle to achieve ambitious goals including anti-corruption measures. ($1 = 157.9000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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