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Asia, Forex

Sri Lanka shares decline on profit-taking; rupee weaker

COLOMBO, July 30 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares snapped their five-session gaining streak on Tuesday as investors booked profits, while the rupee ended weaker due to importer dollar demand. ** The country’s benchmark stock index ended 0.72% weaker at 5,951.75, slipping from the highest close since Jan. 29 it hit on Monday. ** The bourse is down about 1.66% so far this year.

** The country’s stock market had a turnover of 2.2 billion rupees ($12.49 million), nearly four times of this year’s daily average of about 635.7 million rupees so far. Last year’s daily average came in at 834 million rupees. ** Foreign investors bought a net 274 million rupees worth of shares, extending the year-to-date net foreign buying to 1.16 billion rupees, according to index data. ** Shares of Lion Brewery Plc fell 8.3%, Sri Lanka Telecom Plc declined 5.4%, the biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc ended 1.9% weaker and Sampath Bank Plc closed 2.3% down. ** Meanwhile, the currency ended a tad weaker at 176.25/30 per dollar compared to Monday’s close of 176.20/25. ** However, the rupee is up 3.6% so far this year. ** The central bank left key interest rates unchanged on July 11 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 3.74 billion rupees worth of government securities in the week ended July 24, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 22.19 billion rupees, the central bank data showed. ** For a report on global markets, click ** For a report on major currencies, click ($1 = 176.1500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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