COLOMBO, Sept 19 (Reuters) - ** Sri Lanka’s rupee closed weaker for the fourth straight session on Thursday on continued demand for dollars from banks, while equities were little changed at close.
** The rupee was weaker by 0.1% at 180.85/181.05 to the dollar, compared with Wednesday’s close of 180.70/80. The currency is up 0.97% this year. ** Analysts said foreign outflows from government securities have shown a declining trend and the market is now waiting for foreign investors to reverse the selling trend.
** The central bank does not release foreign flow data on a daily basis, but weekly data in the past four weeks has shown an outflow.
** Foreign investors sold government securities worth 598.9 million rupees in the week ended Sept. 11 for a fourth straight week, data showed, extending the net foreign outflow so far this year to 54.3 billion rupees through Sept. 11, central bank data showed. ** The benchmark stock index ended 0.06% up at 5,811.04. ** Investors have been in a wait-and-watch mode since the main opposition party named a hard-line former defence chief as its presidential candidate. ** So far this year, the stock index has dropped about 3.99%. ** Equity market turnover was 463.4 million Sri Lankan rupees ($2.56 million), less than this year’s daily average of about 670.6 million rupees so far. Last year’s daily average was 834 million. ** Foreign investors sold a net 47.8 million rupees worth of shares, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 2.54 billion rupees worth of equities, according to index data. ** For a report on global markets, click ** For a report on major currencies, click ($1 = 180.8500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; editing by Uttaresh.V)