August 23, 2017 / 12:06 PM / a year ago

Sri Lankan shares fall for third straight day; blue chips drag

COLOMBO, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares fell for the third straight session on Wednesday, hitting their lowest close in more than four months, as investors sold heavyweights amid continuing uncertainty over a proposed tax reform bill.

The Colombo stock index fell 0.19 percent, or 12.05 points, to 6,383.27, its lowest close since April 18.

The index shed 4.3 percent since July 27 through Wednesday and has fallen in 17 out of 19 sessions due to lacklustre corporate earnings in the June quarter and speculation that the new tax reform bill might impose a tax on stock trading.

“Things are very slow. Even foreign side is slow as everybody is waiting for the tax bill to settle things,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Holdings.

Junior Finance Minister Eran Wickramaratne said on Thursday concerns over tax on share trading would be addressed before the proposed bill is passed. The bill is expected to be presented in the parliament on Friday.

Foreign investors bought shares worth a net 114.6 million rupees ($749,509.48) on Wednesday, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to 27.9 billion rupees worth of shares.

Turnover was 808.2 million rupees, less than this year’s daily average of around 863.3 million rupees.

Shares of conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc fell 0.9 percent, while both Melstacorp Ltd and Cargills (Ceylon) Plc lost 1.7 percent.

$1 = 152.9000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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