December 21, 2017 / 11:24 AM / a year ago

Sri Lankan stocks end steady near 8-month low in lean trade

COLOMBO, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares ended steady on Thursday, near an eight-month low hit in the previous session, as losses in oil palm and telecommunications offset gains in banking and diversified stocks.

The Colombo Stock Index ended 0.03 percent firmer at 6,323.52, edging up from its lowest close since April 11 touched on Wednesday. Trading was muted ahead of the holiday season, with turnover hitting a 10-month low.

“The dull sentiment is continuing with the year-end holidays coming in,” said Atchuthan Srirangan, senior research analyst at First Capital Holdings PLC.

“Most of the investors and brokers are already on holiday and trading is taking place on very low volumes. We expect low turnover to continue for the next few days.”

Shares in Ceylinco Insurance Plc ended 2.9 percent up while those in Melstacorp Plc rose 1.9 percent.

Sri Lanka Telecom Plc fell 1.4 percent while Hatton NationAl Bank Plc ended 0.7 percent weaker.

Turnover stood at 134.7 million rupees ($880,967.95), the lowest since Feb. 1 and well below this year’s daily average of 933.3 million rupees.

Foreign investors net sold 79.6 million rupees worth of shares on Wednesday. They have net bought 18.3 billion rupees worth of equities so far this year. ($1 = 152.9000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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