Sri Lankan shares dive 2% on rising coronavirus cases

July 13 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares fell more than 2% on Monday, hurt by losses in financial and consumer staple companies, as several clusters of coronavirus infections emerged in the island nation.

** The benchmark CSE All Share Index closed down 2.26% at 4,879.8, its biggest one-day percentage drop since May 12 and marked its second straight session of losses.

** Several COVID-19 cases were reported in a drug rehabilitation centre in the north central province and officials said authorities were battling with the epidemic as more clusters of the infection emerged.

** Sri Lanka will also delay the opening up of its airports, local media reported, quoting the country’s civil aviation minister.

** As of Monday, the country’s total coronavirus cases stood at 2,617, including 11 deaths.

** Conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc fell 2.26%, while food and beverages maker Nestle Lanka Plc dropped 5.3%, and were the biggest drags on the index.

** Foreign investors were net buyers, purchasing 394.4 million Sri Lankan rupees ($2.12 million) worth of shares, according to exchange data.

** Trading volume fell to 49.8 million from 75.1 million in the previous session, while equity market turnover was about 1.3 billion rupees.

** The Sri Lankan rupee was last quoted at 185.85 against the dollar as of 0134 GMT, compared with the previous session’s close of 185.75.

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** For a report on major currencies, click ($1 = 185.8500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

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