Sri Lanka stocks close lower as industries tumble

Sri Lankan stocks ended lower on Thursday, snapping three consecutive sessions of gains, weighed down by losses in industrial and financial stocks.

* At the close of trading, the CSE All-Share Index was down 0.64% to 7,318.24. The Sri Lankan stock exchange was closed on Wednesday for a public holiday.

* Conglomerate Expolanka Holdings and LOLC Development Finance Plc were the biggest losers in the index, falling 2.8% and 9.1% respectively.

* The island nation is currently facing its worst economic crisis in seven decades, unable to pay for essential imports such as fuel and medicine due to a severe shortage of foreign exchange.

* Sri Lanka’s main city, Colombo, was quiet on Thursday as people awaited the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, despite a curfew being imposed and troops patrolling the streets to prevent any outbreak of violence.

* Rajapaksa, who fled to the Maldives on Wednesday to escape a popular uprising over his family’s role in a crippling economic crisis, was on his way to Singapore on Thursday and was expected to stay there for the time being, according to a Sri Lankan government the source.

* The violence and political chaos gripping the island nation of 22 million comes amid negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over a bailout package.

* On the CSE All-Share Index, trading volume fell to 44.5 million shares from 56.9 million shares in the previous session.

* Stock market turnover was 625.8 million rupees ($1.76 million), down from 1.11 billion rupees in the previous session, according to data from the exchange.

* Foreign investors were net buyers in the stock market, buying Rs.11.9 million worth of shares, while domestic investors were net sellers, unloading Rs.619.3 million worth of shares, according to the data .

*For a report on global markets, click ($1 = 355.0000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

Reuters

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