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CSE slips on banks, telecoms; rupee inches higher


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Reuters: Sri Lankan shares edged lower on Thursday, hovering near a two-week closing low hit early in the week, as investors sold banking and telecom stocks. 

The rupee ended slightly stronger as exporter dollar sales surpassed importer greenback demand. 

The benchmark stock index ended 0.19% weaker at 5,878.26, hovering near its lowest close since 25 July hit on Tuesday. It gained 0.37% last week, its sixth straight weekly gain. 

So far this year, the index is down about 2.9%. 

Turnover was Rs. 468.1 million ($2.65 million), less than this year’s daily average of about Rs. 637.3 million so far. Last year’s daily average came in at Rs. 834 million. Foreign investors sold a net Rs. 12.1 million worth of shares on Thursday, but they have been net buyers of Rs. 485.4 million worth of equities so far this year, according to index data. 

Shares of biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC fell 1.8%, Dialog Axiata PLC lost 1.8%, and Sri Lanka Telecom PLC closed 1.7% down. 

The rupee ended at 176.80/177.00 per dollar, compared with Wednesday’s close of 177.40/55. 

The rupee fell 0.73% in the seven sessions through Tuesday, but is up nearly 3.3% so far this year. 

The Central Bank left key interest rates unchanged on 11 July as expected, after cutting them in May to support the economy as tourism and investment plummeted in the wake of deadly suicide bombings in April. 

Foreign investors sold a net Rs. 5.11 billion worth of government securities in the week ended 31 July, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to Rs. 27.31 billion, Central Bank data showed. 


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