Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sri Lanka stocks fall on telcos, banks; rupee firms

Feb 6 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares ended lower for a fifth straight session on Wednesday as retail investors sold telecom shares while foreign interest, mainly in Hatton National Bank, boosted turnover, brokers said.

The main share index fell 0.02 percent, or 1.21 points, to end at 5,780.09, its lowest since Jan. 15.
Turnover was 1.17 billion rupees ($9.25 million), almost equal to this year's daily average of 1.18 billion rupees.

"Foreign activity boosted the day's turnover, but most of the foreign investors sold banking shares with some foreign buying seen," a stockbroker said on condition of anonymity.

Hatton National Bank fell 0.07 percent to 145 rupees while top fixed-line phone operator Sri Lanka Telecom fell 1.82 percent to 43.20 rupees.

Foreign investors were net sellers of 70.59 million rupees worth of shares, extending the net selling so far this year to 940 million rupees.

Analysts said many investors were on the sidelines ahead of the central bank's key monetary policy announcement for February on Tuesday. They said investors might wait for another rate cut before buying into equities.

The rupee ended firmer at 126.15/25 to the dollar from Tuesday's close of 126.30/40 as exporters sold dollars, dealers said. ($1 = 126.45 rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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