January 23, 2018 / 11:57 AM / a year ago

Sri Lankan shares edge lower; turnover up on foreign trades

COLOMBO, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares edged down on Tuesday for a second straight session, their ninth session of losses in ten, but turnover was up on heavy trading by foreign investors.

The Colombo Stock index ended 0.05 percent weaker at 6,418.05.

Colombo Cold Stores Plc dropped 3.2 percent, while Ceylinco Insurance Company Plc declined 1.1 percent. Sri Lanka Telecom Plc fell 1.8 percent.

The index has shed around 2 percent in the past ten sessions. It dropped around 0.5 percent last week, the second straight fall on week.

“Foreigners are buying because they are looking at a time horizon of 3-5 years. But local institutional investors are staying away due to political uncertainties,” said Jaliya Wijeratne, CEO at First Capital Equities.

Turnover stood at 1.5 billion rupees ($9.73 million), with foreign trading accounting for around 85 percent of the day’s turnover, which was well above last year’s daily average of 915.3 million rupees.

Foreign investors bought a net 226.1 million rupees worth of shares on Tuesday, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to 3.1 billion rupees worth equities.

Foreign investors bought equities worth 18.5 billion rupees last year, and 633.5 million rupees in 2016.

President Maithripala Sirisena said over the weekend that he would handle the economy from this year, taking over from the government’s main coalition partner, led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The comments have sparked uncertainty over the future of the coalition government, analysts said.

$1 = 153.8500 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath

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