COLOMBO, Oct 26 (Reuters) – ** The Sri Lankan rupee touched a record low on Friday as banks and importers purchased U.S. dollar, while stocks climbed 1.1 percent to a two-week closing high but foreign investors’ exit from the island nation’s risky assets weighed on sentiment.
** The rupee dropped to an all-time low of 173.08 per dollar on Friday, surpassing its previous record low of 173.00 hit on Tuesday. ** The rupee ended at 173.05/20 per dollar on Friday, compared with its previous close of 172.80/90. ** The rupee weakened 2.1 percent so far this month after a 4.7 percent drop in September against the dollar. It dropped 12.52 percent so far this year.
** The Colombo stock index ended 1.1 percent firmer at 5,831.96, its highest close since Oct. 11. It shed 3.6 percent last month, and lost 8.4 percent so far this year.
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** Data from the central bank showed foreign investors sold government securities worth a net 5.3 billion rupees ($30.7 million) in the week ended Oct. 17. Sri Lanka has seen a net outflow of 85.9 billion rupees in securities so far this year.
** Stock market turnover was 1.6 billion rupees ($9.27 million) on Friday, more than double of this year’s daily average of 768.2 million rupees.
** Foreign investors were net sellers of shares worth 48.3 million rupees on Friday, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 9.5 billion rupees worth of equities.
** Shares in conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc ended 3.4 percent higher, while Hatton National Bank Plc closed up 1.6 percent, Sampath Bank Plc ended 4.2 percent firmer and the biggest listed lender Commercial Bank Plc ended 2.3 percent up.
$1 = 172.6000 Sri Lankan rupees
Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips