February 26, 2018 / 12:52 PM / 9 months ago

Sri Lankan stocks slip to over 1-week closing low on foreign selling

COLOMBO, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares slipped on Monday to a more than one-week closing low, as selling by foreign investors and some concerns about political stability weighed on sentiment, dealers said.

Shares hit a more than three-week high last week after two key parties decided to remain in the ruling coalition, allaying fears of a government collapse.

President Maithripala Sirisena reshuffled his cabinet on Sunday, appointing his prime minister as the law and order minister, after the governing coalition suffered a series of defeats in local elections earlier this month.

“Some block deals boosted the turnover. However, the market is still mixed on political stability. Some investors say the changes are good, while some feel they have failed to ensure stability,” said Jaliya Wijeratne, CEO at First Capital Equities.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.23 percent weaker at 6,560.32, its lowest close since Feb. 15. The index rose 0.18 percent last week.

Turnover stood at 3.3 billion rupees ($21.32 million), the highest since Nov. 8, and more than three times of this year’s daily average of 935.9 million rupees.

Foreign investors sold a net 51.1 million rupees worth of shares, but they have been net buyers of 6.4 billion rupees worth of equities so far this year.

Shares of AIA Insurance Lanka Plc ended 18.9 percent weaker, while Lanka Hospitals Corp Plc fell 5.1 percent. ($1 = 154.8000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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