September 17, 2018 / 12:19 PM / 3 months ago

Sri Lanka shares slip to near 3-week closing low in dull trade

COLOMBO, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares fell slightly to a near three-week closing low on Monday as investors sold manufacturing and banking stocks in dull trade, and the rupee hit a fresh low in its record-setting spree.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.05 percent weaker at 6,028.49, its lowest close since Aug. 28. It lost 1.4 percent last week, its first weekly drop in four.

Turnover was 440.4 million rupees ($2.67 million) on Monday, less than this year’s daily average of 797.1 million rupees.

Foreign investors, who have been net sellers of 4.6 billion rupees worth of shares so far this year, bought a net 162.4 million rupees worth of equities on Monday.

Trading was dull as investors waited to see the direction of economy, said Atchuthan Srirangan, assistant manager - research, First Capital Holdings Plc.

“Rupee depreciation is good for export-oriented companies, but manufacturing and other companies will feel the pain and also the overall economy, it will impact negatively. So, investors are waiting to see the direction and real impact,” he said.

Analysts said the fuel price hike also hurt investor confidence as it could hit corporate earnings.

Fuel retailers raised gasoline and diesel prices for a third time in four months last Tuesday due to higher global oil prices and a weaker rupee.

Investors are also awaiting cues from the national budget which the government is set to unveil in November.

Shares of Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka Plc fell 1.7 percent, Lion Brewery (Ceylon) Plc ended 2.3 percent down, Chevron Lubricants Lanka Plc closed 6.6 percent weaker and Hatton National Bank Plc lost 1.1 percent. ($1 = 164.8000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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