November 20, 2017 / 12:12 PM / 2 years ago

Sri Lankan shares edges down; traders await fresh cues

COLOMBO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares ended marginally lower on Monday, with traders staying on the sidelines for want of fresh triggers amid expectations of certain amendments in the budget.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.15 percent weaker at 6,473.87. It had lost 1 percent last week.

“We expect the market to prevail at these levels for this year. Foreign interest is still there on some select shares,” said Hussain Gani, deputy CEO at Softlogic Stockbrokers.

“They (foreign investors) see value in these stocks and the P/E ratio is also low.”

The final budget vote is scheduled for Dec. 9 and the market expects some amendments that could help give the markets some direction.

Market heavyweight John Keells Holdings fell 0.7 percent while Lanka Orix Leasing Company closed 2.2 percent lower.

Foreign investors net bought equities worth 40.2 million Sri Lankan rupees ($261,548) on Monday, extending the foreign inflows to 19.6 billion rupees so far this year.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera imposed new taxes on motor vehicles, telecoms, banks and liquor in a bid to boost revenues in as the budget deficit for the current year slipped to 5.2 percent of the gross domestic product.

Samaraweera imposed taxes on telecom towers and text messages, and introduced a debt repayment levy of 20 cents per 1,000 rupee bank transaction with effect from April 1 next year.

Analysts said the market players have sought more clarification on these taxes and perhaps there could be amendments to these proposals before the final vote.

Turnover was 707.8 million rupees on Monday, less than this year’s average of around 952.5 million rupees. ($1 = 153.7000 Sri Lankan rupees)

Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan

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