April 19, 2018 / 11:57 AM / 7 months ago

Sri Lankan stocks slip as investors sell select blue chips

COLOMBO, April 19 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan share index slipped on Thursday from a five-week closing high hit the previous day, snapping a six-session winning streak, as investors offloaded select blue-chip stocks in low volumes.

Many market participants stayed away due to extended holidays after the Sinhala-Tamil New Year festival last weekend, brokers said.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.36 percent weaker at 6,528.57, slipping from its highest close since March 13 hit on Wednesday. The index gained 0.44 percent last week.

“Market came down on blue-chip selling in low volumes,” said Atchuthan Srirangan, assistant manager - research, First Capital Holdings PLC.

“Just 159 shares of Ceylon Tobacco Co (CTC) were traded. The small volume of selling in CTC dragged the market down,” he added.

Turnover stood at 269.8 million rupees ($1.73 million), less than a quarter of this year’s daily average of 1.11 billion rupees.

Shares of Ceylon Tobacco ended 2.5 percent weaker, while Lanka ORIX Leasing Company Plc closed 2.2 percent down and Melstacorp Ltd closed 1.00 percent lower.

The market has been waiting for some political stability after President Maithripala Sirisena suspended parliament until May 8, brokers said.

Foreign investors bought shares worth a net 57.1 million rupees on Thursday, but they have net sold 1.27 billion rupees worth of equities so far this year.

The central bank unexpectedly cut its key lending rate by 25 basis points early this month, as policy makers sought to revitalise an economy growing at its weakest pace in 16 years and facing heightened political uncertainty.

$1 = 156.1500 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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