September 6, 2017 / 11:39 AM / 3 months ago

Sri Lankan shares hit 4-1/2-month closing low

COLOMBO, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares closed at their lowest in more than four months on Wednesday, with foreign investors selling risky assets in lacklustre trade, while the daily turnover got a boost from block trades.

The Colombo stock index resumed trade after a holiday, ended down 0.38 percent at 6,361.03, its lowest close since April 17.

The country’s stock and foreign exchange markets were closed on Friday and Tuesday for religious holidays.

The bourse ended 0.3 percent lower last week, its seventh straight weekly fall. As of Wednesday’s close, it has shed more than 4.6 percent since July 27.

Shares of Sri Lanka Telecom Plc ended 3.3 percent down, while Trans Asia Hotel Plc closed 9.4 percent lower and the biggest-listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc ended 0.4 percent weaker.

Foreign investors net sold 263.8 million Sri Lankan rupees ($1.73 million) worth of shares, but they have net bought 27.4 billion rupees worth equities so far this year.

“Another slow day. Investors are looking for direction and staying away,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings.

Mathew said investors are waiting to see the clarity on taxes following the Inland Revenue Bill.

The bill, Sri Lanka’s major tax reform since independence from Britain in 1948, seeks to expand the tax net and stamp out evasion. It is expected to be presented in the parliament on Sept. 7.

Turnover stood at 1.5 billion Sri Lankan rupees ($9.83 million), well above this year’s daily average of around 862.4 million rupees.

$1 = 152.6000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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