May 10, 2019 / 1:59 PM / 2 months ago

Sri Lanka stocks, rupee down as bombings push investors away

COLOMBO, May 10 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares fell on Friday for a seventh straight day, closing at their lowest in six-and-a-half years, and the rupee slipped for a second day, as the Easter bombings drove off investors. ** Sri Lanka's economic growth is expected to slump to its lowest in nearly two decades this year, a Reuters poll showed. Tourism, foreign investment and overall business activity have all dropped after the bombings. ** Investigators have dismantled a major part of the network linked to the bombings, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Tuesday. But he warned further attacks could not be ruled out. ** The benchmark stock index ended 0.46 percent weaker on Friday at 5,327.68, its lowest close since Dec. 5, 2012. ** Turnover was 152.8 million rupees ($867,689), lower than this year's daily average of around 565 million rupees. Last year's daily average was 834 million rupees. ** Foreign investors bought a net 20 million rupees worth of shares on Friday, but they have been net sellers of 4.4 billion rupees worth of equities so far this year. ** The rupee closed weaker for a second session on Friday on dollar demand from banks. ** The rupee dropped 0.3 percent to close at 176.10/60 per dollar, compared with Thursday's close of 175.60/90, Refinitiv data showed. ** Analysts expect the currency to weaken further as money flows out of stocks and government securities. ** The rupiah gained 0.6 percent this week and was up 4.5 percent for the year. Exporters had converted dollars as investor confidence stabilised after a $1 billion sovereign bond was repaid in mid-January. ** The rupee dropped 16 percent in 2018 and was one of the worst-performing currencies in Asia. ** Foreign investors sold a net 10.8 billion rupees worth of government securities in the week ended May 8, extending net foreign outflow to 20.8 billion rupees so far this year, central bank data showed. ** Investor sentiment was damaged at the end of last year, when President Maithripala Sirisena abruptly removed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and then dissolved parliament. A court later ruled the move unconstitutional, but the political turmoil led to credit rating downgrades and an outflow of foreign funds.

** For a report on global markets, click ** For a report on major currencies, click ($1 = 175.2000 Sri Lankan rupees) ($1 = 176.1000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Shihar Aneez, editing by Larry King)

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