March 23, 2018 / 12:33 PM / 8 months ago

Sri Lankan stocks slip to over 8-week closing low; lower economic growth weighs

COLOMBO, March 23 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares slipped to their lowest close in more than eight weeks on Friday, led by beverage and telecom stocks as investors remained worried about the island nation’s slower economic growth, brokers said.

The Colombo stock index closed 0.12 percent lower at 6,443.75, marking its fourth session of fall in five. It fell 1 percent this week, in its fourth straight weekly drop.

Sri Lanka’s economy grew by 3.1 percent in 2017, the slowest pace in 16 years and well below the 4.5 percent seen in 2016, revised government data released on Tuesday showed.

“The market is moving sideways as investors are on the sidelines due to concerns over lower growth. They are also awaiting directions from the policy interest rate decision in April,” said Atchuthan Srirangan, a senior research analyst with First Capital Holdings Plc.

Turnover was 953.9 million rupees ($6.11 million), more than this year’s daily average of around 944.8 million rupees.

Shares in Lion Brewery (Ceylon) Plc fell 3.6 percent, Nestle Lanka Plc dropped about 1 percent, Softlogic Holdings Plc slumped 5 percent and Dialog Axiata Plc ended 0.7 percent weaker.

Foreign investors sold a net 58.4 million rupees worth of shares, but they have been net buyers of 7.2 billion rupees worth of equities so far this year. ($1 = 156.0500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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