June 14, 2018 / 11:54 AM / a year ago

Sri Lankan stocks end lower for 7th straight session

COLOMBO, June 14 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares closed lower for a seventh straight session on Thursday, with turnover slumping to a more than three-week low, as investors sold diversified shares.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.17 percent weaker at 6,337.88, its lowest close since Dec. 22. The index dropped 0.4 percent during the week, marking its fourth straight weekly fall.

Shares in Dialog Axiata Plc closed 0.7 percent weaker, while conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc ended 0.1 percent lower and Lanka IOC Plc closed 3.5 percent weaker.

“The sentiment is still lousy. We don’t see much activity from retail investors and government funds,” said Prashan Fernando, CEO at Acuity Stockbrokers.

Foreign investors net sold 32.5 million rupees ($203,762) worth of equities on Thursday, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 773.6 million rupees worth of shares.

Turnover stood at 273.3 million rupees, the lowest since May 23 and less than a third of this year’s daily average of 958.2 million rupees.

Most investors have adopted a wait-and-watch approach, hoping for some positive news on the economic front, analysts said.

A weaker rupee, political uncertainty and the recent fuel price hike has weighed on sentiment over the past few weeks, with local investors remaining on the sidelines as they gauge the impact of floods last month, brokers said.

The Sri Lankan stock market will be closed for a public holiday on Friday. ($1 = 159.5000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)

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