October 30, 2017 / 11:22 AM / 2 months ago

Sri Lankan shares fall; turnover hits over 6-wk high

COLOMBO, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares edged down on Monday as losses led by consumer discretionary stocks outpaced gains in financials, with foreign investors boosting market turnover to a more than six-week high.

The Colombo stock index closed 0.09 percent lower at 6,607.14, further moving away from its highest close since July 31 hit last Thursday.

Top lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, which accounted for 55.5 percent of the day’s turnover, gained 2.4 percent. Losses were, however, led by Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc , which fell 2.5 percent and dragged down the index.

“We see some fresh foreign buying in Commercial Bank . There was a lot of foreign interest,” said Hussain Gani, deputy CEO at Softlogic Stockbrokers.

Foreign investors net bought shares worth 136.5 million rupees ($888,961), extending the net inflow to 19.8 billion worth equities so far this year.

Foreign investor purchases accounted for 85.4 percent of the day’s total turnover of 2.53 billion rupees ($16.48 million), which was around three times this year’s average daily turnover of 943.4 million rupees.

The day’s turnover was the highest since Sept. 15, exchange data showed.

“We do not see any major factors that would bring the market down in the next two months. The market also expects the interest rates to come down further and local investors are waiting for this,” Gani said.

Local investors were looking for direction from corporate results for the September quarter and the 2018 budget, which Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera will present on Nov. 9.

$1 = 153.5500 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath

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