Financials, industrials drag Sri Lankan shares lower as virus worries weigh

BENGALURU, April 27 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares ended lower on Tuesday, dragged by financial and industrial stocks, as a spike in domestic COVID-19 cases dented investor sentiment.

* The CSE All-Share Index fell about 2.29% to close at 7,066.70 points.

* Sri Lanka detected a new variant of the novel coronavirus over the weekend, according to media reports, as it braces for a third wave of infections.

* The island nation on Monday reported its highest daily rise in COVID-19 cases of 997, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

* The cabinet approved the closure of all schools in the country till Friday, the secretary to the education ministry said on Tuesday, to stem the spread of infections.

* Local newspapers reported all ICU beds in hospitals were full and that the new virus variant was highly infectious and affected young people.

* Insurance underwriter Ceylinco Insurance Plc and conglomerate Expolanka Holdings Plc were the top drags to the index, falling about 9% and 3.9%, respectively.

* Trading volumes rose to 105.7 million from 103.9 million in the previous session.

* Foreign investors were net buyers in the equity market, purchasing about 56.5 million Sri Lankan rupees ($291,237.11)worth of shares, according to exchange data.

* Equity market turnover was 1.95 billion rupees, exchange data showed.

* The Sri Lankan rupee was quoted at similar levels as on Thursday at 194 against the U.S. dollar, as of 1139 GMT, according to Refinitiv data.

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* For a report on major currencies, click ($1 = 194.0000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru and Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)