Sri Lankan shares hit near 10-mth closing low

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Jan 24, 2017 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan stocks closed at their lowest in nearly 10 months on Tuesday, dragged down by banking and telecom shares, as concerns over rising interest rates and ongoing political instability weighed on sentiment.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.45 percent lower at 6,134.41, its lowest close since April 4.

“Not much of activities as the current uncertainty is hurting investor sentiment despite the current (price) levels being attractive,” said Reshan Kurukulasuriya, chief operating officer, Richard Pieris Securities (Pvt) Ltd.

Foreign investors net bought 8.06 million rupees (about $53,751) worth of equities on Tuesday, but they have net sold 1.37 billion rupees worth of shares so far this year.

Turnover stood at 207.5 million rupees, the highest since Jan 18.

Shares in mobile phone operator Dialog Axiata Plc fell 3.64 percent, while Ceylinco Insurance Plc lost 5 percent and market heavyweight John Keells Holdings slipped 0.86 percent.

Rising market interest rates, which move in tandem with t-bill yields, have been a cause for concern, brokers said.

Yields on treasury bills rose 1-16 basis points at a weekly auction last Wednesday to a four-month high after the central bank governor signalled reduced intervention to defend the rupee.

Investors are also concerned about possible political uncertainty as the main coalition partners in the government are contesting local polls separately, analysts said.