May 8, 2018 / 12:32 PM / 5 months ago

Sri Lankan stocks end at over 3-week low in thin trade

COLOMBO, May 8 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares fell on Tuesday to more than a three-week low, dragged down by shares of beverage companies such as Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka Plc , while investors continued to await fresh cues from political and economic fronts.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.33 percent weaker at 6,485.57, its lowest since April 12. The index lost 0.37 percent last week, its second straight weekly fall.

“It was a very slow market as investors are still scared and they are worried .... they don’t see that the economy has picked up and they feel its still uncertain for equity investments though there are signs of improvement in the economy,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings.

Shares of Sri Lanka Plc ended 3.1 percent lower while Ceylon Cold Stores Plc fell 1.2 percent and Lanka ORIX Leasing Plc ended 1.9 percent weaker.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc ended 0.6 percent down and Sri Lanka Telecom Plc closed 1.1 percent weaker.

Analysts said depreciation of the rupee also weighed on the sentiment as it is likely to dent the profits of some listed firms that rely heavily on imports.

The Sri Lankan rupee hit a fresh low on Wednesday on importer demand for the U.S. currency, dealers said, but recovered after the central bank intervened in the market.

Fitch Ratings has said that recent political developments in Sri Lanka have created some uncertainty over reform momentum and fiscal consolidation, and prolonged upheaval could undermine investor confidence ahead of large external debt maturities in 2019-22.

Turnover stood at 601.6 million rupees ($3.82 million), less than this year’s daily average of 1.03 billion rupees.

Foreign investors bought a net 100.9 million rupees worth of equities on Tuesday, but the market has seen a net foreign outflow to 487 million rupees worth of equities so far this year. ($1 = 157.4000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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