COLOMBO, Aug 5 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares fell for the fifth straight session on Monday and closed at their lowest in more than one week, as investors sold banking and telecom stocks, while the rupee ended weaker due to importer dollar demand. ** The country’s benchmark stock index ended 0.09% down at 5,889.67, its lowest close since July 26. The bourse gained 0.37% last week, recoding its sixth straight weekly gain.
** So far this year, the index is down about 2.7%. ** Turnover was 534.3 million rupees ($3.02 million), less than this year’s daily average of about 640.4 million rupees so far. Last year’s daily average came in at 834 million rupees.
** Foreign investors bought a net 60.9 million rupees worth of shares on Monday, extending the year-to-date net foreign buying to 574.8 million rupees worth of equities, according to index data.
** Shares of Sampath Bank Plc declined 2%, Hemas Holdings Plc fell 2.4%, Dialog Axiata Plc closed down 0.9% and Sri Lanka Telecom Plc ended 1.8% weaker. ** Meanwhile, the rupee slipped for a sixth straight session and ended at 176.95/177.05 per dollar, compared with Friday’s close of 176.60/70.
** The rupee fell 0.25% last week, but is up 3.2% 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 5.11 billion rupees worth of government securities in the week ended July 31, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 27.31 billion rupees, central bank data showed. ** For a report on global markets, click ** For a report on major currencies, click ($1 = 176.8000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)