June 11, 2018 / 12:13 PM / 2 months ago

Sri Lankan stocks hover near 5-1/2-month closing low

COLOMBO, June 11 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares edged lower on Monday, falling for a fourth straight session to end at their lowest close in more than five months, as investors continued to stay on the sidelines looking for fresh cues.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.04 percent weaker at 6,352.61, its lowest close since Dec 26. The bourse fell 0.7 percent last week recording a third straight weekly fall.

“The market was very slow with weak investor sentiment and things continue to remain low,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings.

“The investor perspective is things are uncertain and they are not willing to invest due to lack of any positive news on the economic front.”

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

Turnover was 393.9 million rupees ($2.48 million), less than half of this year’s daily average of 970.2 million rupees.

Foreign investors bought net 59.6 million rupees worth of equities on Monday. The market, however, has witnessed a year-to-date net foreign outflow of 494.9 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 159.10 per dollar on Monday, pulled down by a lack of support for the local currency from exporters.

Shares in Asiri Hospitals Plc ended 0.4 percent lower, while Melstacorp Ltd closed 0.6 percent weaker, Distillers Company of Sri Lanka Plc closed down 0.9 percent, the biggest-listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc ended 0.3 percent lower and Sri Lanka Telecom Plc closed 1.6 percent weaker.

$1 = 159.0000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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