June 12, 2018 / 11:41 AM / in 6 months

Sri Lankan stocks hit near 6-month closing low

COLOMBO, June 12 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares fell for a fifth straight session on Tuesday to hit their lowest closing level in nearly six months, as investors sold telecom and diversified shares.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.06 percent weaker at 6,348.53, its lowest close since Dec. 22. The index fell 0.7 percent last week, its third straight weekly fall.

Shares in Dialog Axiata Plc fell 1.4 percent, while Sri Lanka Telecom Plc closed 0.8 percent weaker and Asiri Hospital Plc ended 2 percent lower.

“The market is bottoming out and we have seen the index has been almost flat in the last two days. We expect it to bounce back once investors see any positive news,” said Hussain Gani, deputy CEO at Softlogic Securities.

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

Turnover stood at 876.4 million rupees ($5.50 million), less than this year’s daily average of 969.4 million rupees.

Foreign investors net sold 33 million rupees worth of equities on Tuesday, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 527.9 million rupees worth of shares.

A weaker rupee, political uncertainty and the recent fuel price hike weighed on sentiment in the past week with local investors remaining on the sidelines as they gauged the impact of the floods last month, brokers said.

The Sri Lankan rupee slipped to a fresh all-time low of 159.80 per dollar on Monday, pulled down by a lack of support for the local currency from exporters. ($1 = 159.3000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)

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