June 29, 2017 / 11:24 AM / 7 months ago

Sri Lankan shares end slightly higher on foreign buying; tax bill weighs

COLOMBO, June 29 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan stocks edged higher on Thursday led by shares of diversified companies as foreign buying continued, while concerns over a proposed tax bill weighed on overall investor sentiment.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.08 percent firmer at 6,702.53, edging up from its lowest close since June 19 hit on Wednesday.

Foreign investors net bought 22.1 million rupees ($144,161.77) worth of shares, extending their year-to-date net inflow to 21.7 billion rupees worth of equities.

“The overall market is stagnating at the same levels as the investors are awaiting specially the local investors are awaiting clarity on the inland revenue act,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings PLC.

It will take a few weeks for the uncertainty to settle, he added.

Brokers said local investors have been waiting for some clarity on the proposed inland revenue act, which some companies expect will result in higher cost of production.

The IMF, which has long urged Sri Lanka to boost tax revenue through modernisation and simplification of its fiscal system, has urged the government to submit to parliament a new Inland Revenue Act.

Turnover was 539.3 million rupees, well below this year’s daily average of 926.5 million rupees.

Shares of C T Holdings Plc rose 5.96 percent, while Melstacorp Ltd gained 1.49 percent and Hemas Holdings Plc ended 0.61 percent higher. ($1 = 153.3000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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