February 16, 2017 / 11:59 AM / 6 months ago

Sri Lankan shares slip from 4-wk closing high on profit-taking

COLOMBO, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares ended slightly weaker on Thursday, down from a four-week closing high hit in the previous session, as investors sold diversified and telecom shares after a three-day rising streak.

The Colombo stock index fell 0.03 percent to end at 6,173.72, sliding from its highest close since Jan. 18 hit on Wednesday as investors picked up the battered blue-chip shares.

"We saw a bit of profit-taking in the latter part of the day. But some crossings pushed turnover," said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

Shares in Carson Cumberbatch Plc fell 8.14 percent, while conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc lost 0.54 percent, dragging down the overall index.

Turnover stood at 633.1 million rupees ($4.20 million), in line with this year's daily average of 631.5 million rupees.

Foreign investors net bought 67.5 million rupees worth of equities on Thursday. They have net sold 223.2 million rupees worth of shares so far this year.

"With interest rates on the rise, the market will remain slow in the next few days and many investors will wait to see the direction from the sovereign bond issue," Mathew said.

The Sri Lankan cabinet approved a $1.5 billion sovereign bond issue to repay loans and manage interest payments, a cabinet spokesman said on Wednesday.

Yields on treasury bills rose 5-8 basis points at a weekly auction on Wednesday and are hovering at a more than four-year high. ($1 = 150.7500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)

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