COLOMBO: Sri Lankan shares declined in a shortened session on Friday, further moving away from a four-week closing high hit earlier in the week, as investors sold banking stocks amid concerns over rising market interest rates.
The Colombo stock index fell 0.22 percent to 6,159.87, its second straight session of falls, but posted a weekly gain of 1.1 percent after four straight weeks of declines.
“There was no big interest in the market, it was a dull day with low trade,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.
“We saw a bit of profit-taking and that trend will continue for few more days until investors see some positive news.”
Shares of Commercial Leasing and Finance Company Plc fell 9.4 percent, while Commercial bank of Ceylon Plc , the country's biggest listed lender, declined 0.7 percent. Conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc dropped 0.1 percent.
Turnover stood at 329.4 million rupees ($2.19 million), less than half of this year's daily average of 622.4 million rupees.
Foreign investors offloaded a net 14.64 million rupees worth of equities, making them net sellers for the first time in 12 sessions, and extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 237.8 million rupees worth of shares.
The market will remain slow for the next few days and many investors will await direction from the sovereign bond issue, Mathew said.
The Sri Lankan cabinet approved a $1.5 billion sovereign bond issue to repay loans and manage interest payments, a cabinet spokesman said on Wednesday.
Yields on treasury bills rose 5-8 basis points at a weekly auction on Wednesday and are hovering at a more than four-year high.
The stock market traded for half a day due to a special holiday in lieu of National Day which fell on Feb. 4.