COLOMBO, Aug 2 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares recovered from an intraday fall of over 1% to close flat on Friday, while the rupee ended weaker due to importer dollar demand.
** The country’s benchmark stock index ended 0.04% down at 5,894.70, a one-week low. However, the bourse is up 0.37% for the week, its sixth straight weekly gain. ** So far this year, the index is down about 2.61%.
** The stock market had a turnover of 900.2 million rupees ($5.10 million), more than this year’s daily average of about 641.1 million rupees so far. Last year’s daily average came in at 834 million rupees. ** Foreign investors sold a net 112.5 million rupees worth of shares on Friday, but they have been net buyers of 513.9 million rupees worth of equities so far this year, according to index data. ** Shares of conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc fell 2%, Melsacrop Ltd declined 2.2%, Ceylon Cold Store Plc dropped 3.2% and the biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc ended 1.5% weaker. ** Meanwhile, the currency slipped for a fifth straight session and ended at 176.60/70 per dollar compared with Thursday’s close of 176.50/60. ** The rupee fell 0.25% for the week, but is up 3.5% 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 = 176.6000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; editing by Uttaresh.V)