Stocks fall to near six-week low on foreign selling

Wednesday, 19 February 2014 00:50 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Shares fell for a fourth straight session on Tuesday to a six-week low as foreign investors dumped the country’s risky assets on a day of thin trading. The main stock index ended lower 0.57%, or 34.45 points, at 6,021.66, its lowest close since 7 January. It has lost 3.62% in the last 10 straight sessions. Foreign investors sold a net Rs. 229.52 million ($ 1.75 million) worth of shares on Tuesday, extending outflows to Rs. 4.87 billion in the past eight sessions as some offshore funds exited the market. The bourse has seen Rs. 3.48 billion of foreign outflows so far in 2014, after enjoying net inflows of Rs. 22.88 rupees last year. Analysts said investors were waiting for direction on foreign selling and concerned over further outflows, though local investors are still optimistic about risky assets due to falling interest rates. On Monday, the  Central Bank kept its policy rates steady at multi-year lows, with inflation expected to be contained throughout 2014 by “well-managed demand conditions and improved domestic supply”. Analysts said local investors were active in the market after interest rates on Treasury bills eased to multi-year lows, making fixed-income assets unattractive. Shares of Ceylon Tobacco Co Plc fell 2.44% to Rs. 1,209.70, while Distillers Sri Lanka Plc fell 3.3% to Rs. 208, pulling the overall index down. Top conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc lost 0.68% to close at Rs. 218.40. The index has risen 1.84% so far this year, following a 4.8% gain in 2013. The day’s turnover was Rs. 604.1 million, just half of this year’s daily average of about Rs. 1.2 billion.