Sri Lanka shares extend losses, end at near 4-week low on foreign selling

COLOMBO, Dec 10 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares fell for the sixth straight session and ended at a near four-week closing low on Tuesday, weighed down by continued foreign sell-offs in the absence of any fresh policy announcements, while the rupee ended steady.

** The benchmark stock index closed down 0.71% at 6,060.20, its lowest since Nov. 15. The bourse fell 1% last week, but is up 0.1% for the year so far.

** The index touched its highest level since June 25, 2018 on Dec. 2, lifted by hopes of booming economic activity after the new government cut some key tax rates.

** However, foreign investors have been net sellers in the equity market for the 29 sessions out of the last 32, offloading 7.64 billion rupees ($42.44 million) worth of shares.

** They sold a net 213.2 million rupees worth of shares on Tuesday, extending the year-to-date foreign outflow to 11.2 billion rupees, according to index data. ** The Sri Lankan rupee ended little changed at 181.05/20 per dollar, compared to Monday’s close of 181.10/30, Refinitiv data showed. It is up 0.8% so far this year.

** Analysts said the tax reduction has already been factored in and the market was waiting to see the impact of the new policy. They said investors sold shares that rose on hopes the new government will encourage an economic boom led by construction.

** Singapore-based research firm Emerging Asia Economics said in a note last week the tax cut decision would provide a significant boost to the economy, but put increased strain on the country’s fragile public finances, with a possible loss of $2 billion in revenue.

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** Equity market turnover was 573.4 million Sri Lankan rupees, less than this year’s daily average of about 725 million. Last year’s daily average was 834 million rupees.

** Foreign investors were net sellers of government securities on a net basis for the first week in seven, selling a net 4.2 billion Sri Lankan rupees worth of government securities in the week ended Dec. 4.

** Total foreign outflows from government securities through Nov. 27 stood at 47.9 billion rupees, according to central bank data.

** For a report on global markets, click ** For a report on major currencies, click ($1 = 180.0000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Rashmi Aich)



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