COLOMBO, July 31 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares fell for a second straight session on Wednesday, dragged down by banking and telecommunication shares, while the rupee ended weaker due to importer dollar demand. ** The country’s benchmark stock index closed 0.28% down at 5,935.34, but ended the month 10.5% higher. ** The index is down about 1.93% so far this year.
** The country’s stock market had a turnover of 1.1 billion rupees ($6.24 million), nearly twice this year’s daily average of about 638.9 million rupees so far. Last year’s daily average came in at 834 million rupees. ** Foreign investors sold a net 361.1 million rupees worth of shares on Wednesday, but they have been net buyers of 796.1 million rupees worth of equities so far this year, according to index data. ** Shares of Sampath Bank Plc fell 3.2%, the biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc declined 1.1%, DFCC Bank Plc ended 4.03% weaker, and Sri Lanka Telecom Plc closed 0.34% down. ** Meanwhile, the currency ended a tad weaker at 176.30/45 per dollar compared to Monday’s close of 176.25/30. ** 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, central bank data showed. ** For a report on global markets, click ** For a report on major currencies, click ($1 = 176.3000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; editing by Uttaresh.V)