Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sri Lanka bourse down from 3-mth high on foreign, retail selling

Jan 24 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's stock market closed marginally down from a three-month high on Thursday in thin trade on retail profit taking and foreign outflow ahead of a long weekend, while the rupee ended steady.

The main share index closed 0.09 percent, or 5.47 points weaker, at 5,878.19, from its highest close since Oct 3.

"Retail profit taking brought down the market," a stockbroker said on condition of anonymity. "But still we see a bullish market due to lower interest rates."

Analysts said a U.S.-based foreign fund had been selling top lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon, which closed flat at 104.10 rupees.

That resulted in a net foreign outflow of 99.3 million rupees, extending the net offshore selling to 1.09 billion rupees over five sessions and bringing the year-to-date foreign outflow to 453.4 million rupees.

Sri Lanka enjoyed a record foreign inflow of 38.63 billion rupees last year.

A continuous fall in the yields of government securities has boosted local buying since early December.

Turnover on Thursday was 569.2 million rupees ($4.48 million).

The rupee closed steady at 127.00/20 to the dollar.

Stock and foreign exchange markets will be closed on Friday for a holiday to mark the Holy Prophet's Birthday. Normal trading will resume on Monday. ($1 = 127.0500 Sri Lanka rupees) (Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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