July 23, 2018 / 11:01 AM / 5 months ago

Sri Lankan shares edge lower from 3-wk high in dull trade

COLOMBO, July 23 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares ended weaker on Monday, slipping from the last session’s three-week closing high, but foreign buying prevented steeper losses.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.1 percent weaker at 6,184.68, edging lower from its highest close since June 29 hit on Friday. The bourse rose 0.86 percent last week, but has fallen 2.9 percent year to date.

Turnover was 238.4 million rupees ($1.5 million) in the session, less than a quarter of this year’s daily average of 877.6 million rupees.

“The selling pressure was absorbed by foreign buying which is a good sign,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings.

Foreign investors bought equities net worth 98.1 million rupees on Monday, but they have been net sellers of stocks worth 2.5 billion rupees so far this year.

A downward revision in economic growth estimate by the central bank has hurt sentiment, analysts have said.

Economic growth in 2018 is likely to be between 4 percent and 4.5 percent, falling short of an earlier estimate of 5 percent, Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy said earlier this month.

Shares in Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc fell 1.6 percent, while Distillers Company of Sri Lanka Plc ended 1.9 percent weaker and conglomerate John Keels Holdings Plc ended 0.7 percent down. ($1 = 159.4000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)

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