Sri Lankan stocks slip ahead of polls

February, 7, 2018

Reuters - Sri Lankan shares ended slightly weaker on Tuesday, slipping from their highest close in more than three weeks, with domestic investors staying on the sidelines ahead of the local government polls over the weekend.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.12 percent weaker at 6,512.54, slipping from its highest close since Jan. 9 hit on Friday. The market was closed on Monday on account of a bank holiday.

Shares in conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc slipped 0.9 percent, while Hatton National Bank Plc edged down 0.8 percent and Sampath Bank Plc lost 1.2 percent.

“Local investors are on a wait-and-see mode ahead of the elections and that is the main reason why we don’t see much local activity. We expect this trend to continue for the next few days,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Holdings.

Sri Lanka will hold the long-delayed local government election on Feb. 10, amid worries about the future of the country’s coalition government.

The market turnover was 848.3 million rupees ($5.49 million), less than last year’s daily average of 915.3 million rupees.

Foreign investors bought a net 122.2 million rupees worth of shares on Tuesday, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to 4.4 billion rupees worth of equities.