Shares down ahead of govt policy statement

cseSri Lankan shares ended weaker on Monday, from their more than three-week closing high hit in the previous session, as investors turned cautious ahead of the government’s policy statement next month.

The bourse touched a three-week high on Friday after investor sentiment was boosted with Sri Lanka raising $1.5 billion in its first sale of dual-tranche eurobonds last week, as over $5.5 billion in offers for the issue showed that global investors were bullish about prospects of the $82 billion economy.

After the bond deal, yields in local T-bill auction fell along with the 364-day T-bill rates at Wednesday’s auction for the first time since April 15.

The benchmark Colombo stock index in thin trade ended down 0.11 percent or 6.88 points at 6,415.81, slipping from its highest since June 21 hit on Friday. It gained 0.9 percent last week.

“There was nothing much happening today. Probably, investors were awaiting the Prime minister’s policy statement to see the direction,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to announce the country’s economic policies in August, said new central bank chief Indrajith Coomaraswamy last week.

Turnover stood at 357.5 million rupees ($2.46 million), well below this year’s daily average of around 738.3 million rupees.

Overseas investors, who were net sellers of shares worth 4.92 billion rupees so far this year, were net buyers of equities worth 134 million rupees on Monday.

Shares in Lanka ORIX Leasing Company Plc fell as much as 2.72 percent while the biggest-listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc lost 0.77 percent. (Reuters)

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