October 19, 2017 / 11:42 AM / a year ago

Sri Lankan shares end lower for third session; block deals boost turnover

COLOMBO, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares ended down for a third straight session on Thursday to hit near a one-week low, led by banking stocks while block deals boosted the turnover, brokers said.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.25 percent weaker at 6,555.46, its lowest close since Oct. 10. The stock, bond, and foreign exchange markets were closed on Wednesday for Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

“The market continue to be in the red zone with investors selling shares which gained in the past few days,” said Atchuthan Srirangan, senior research analyst, First Capital Holdings PLC.

“The retail investors are on the sideline as the market continued to be on the red zone. But turnover is boosted by some big deals.”

Shares of Hatton National Bank ended down 2.5 percent while the biggest-listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc closed 0.5 percent weaker and Asiri Hospitals Plc finished 1.9 percent down.

Turnover was 1.1 billion rupees ($7.16 million), more than this year’s daily average of 939.9 million rupees.

Foreign investors were net buyers of shares worth 17.2 million rupees on Thursday extending the year to date net foreign inflow to 19.1 billion rupees worth of shares.

$1 = 153.6000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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