Stock market snaps 8-session rally on profit-taking rupee falls

(Colombo – Reuters): Sri Lankan shares closed lower on Monday, snapping an eight-session gaining streak, as investors booked profits, while the rupee weakened on higher importer dollar demand.


The country’s benchmark stock index ended down 0.97 percent at 5,659.77.
The index is down about 6.49 percent so far this year.
The country’s stock market had a turnover of Rs.209.4 million, nearly a third of this year’s daily average of about Rs.608.5 million so far. Last year’s daily average came in at Rs.834 million.
Foreign investors bought a net Rs.14.4 million worth of shares, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to Rs.1.49 billion worth of equities so far this year, index data showed.
Among the prominent losers are conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC, which fell 1.8 percent, Carson Cumberbatch PLC, down 7.3 percent, the country’s biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon, shedding 0.9 percent, Nestle Lanka PLC, losing 5.2 percent and Dialog Axiata PLC, ending 1.8 percent weaker.
Meanwhile, the currency ended 0.09 percent weaker at 175.90/176.00 per dollar, compared with Friday’s close of 175.75/85, as importer demand for the greenback outpaced the dollar selling by banks.
The rupee is up 3.81 percent so far this year.
The Central Bank left key interest rates unchanged on July 11 as expected, after cutting them in May to support the economy as tourism and investment plummeted in the wake of deadly suicide bombings in April.
Foreign investors bought a net Rs.1.22 billion worth of government securities in the week ended July 17 but the market has seen a year-to-date net foreign outflow to Rs.18.46 billion, the Central Bank data showed.

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