October 20, 2014 / 11:47 AM / 3 years ago

Sri Lankan stocks end lower; budget, earnings awaited

COLOMBO, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan stocks fell for the third session on Monday in moderate volume, led by profit-taking in blue-chips as investors awaited cues from the 2015 budget and the September quarter earnings amid speculations over an early election.

Sri Lanka’s main stock index fell 0.29 percent, or 21.02 points, to 7,213.45, its lowest since Oct. 14.

“It’s profit-taking, but uncertainty is also weighing on the market,” a stockbroker said on condition of anonymity.

The day’s turnover was 863.1 million rupees ($6.6 million), less than this year’s daily average of over 1.36 billion rupees.

Foreign investors bought a net 8.4 million rupees worth of shares on Monday, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to 10.14 billion rupees, exchange data showed.

Blue chips such as John Keells Holdings fell 0.32 percent to 247.20 rupees, while large-cap illiquid Nestle Lanka ended 0.94 percent down to 2,080.20 rupees.

Traders said the market was waiting to see the performance in the September quarter earnings before a decision to buy the island nation’s risky assets.

Stockbrokers said trading in local shares may be volatile due to chances of an early presidential poll and a possible bottoming out of interest rates. The government is also scheduled to present its 2015 budget on Friday.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa could hold a snap election in January, nearly two years before he has to, a close ally said, amid signs his popularity is fading among people who criticise his party for abusing power. ($1 = 130.6000 Sri Lankan rupee) (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Anand Basu)

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