Sri Lanka stocks end down on profit taking

COLOMBO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan stocks closed down at their lowest level in nearly four weeks on Tuesday after late profit taking erased an early gain following a decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to ease rules on trade.

After the market closed on Monday, the SEC said it had eased broker credit margins and lifted a ban on directors and workers at broking firms, and their spouses, selling stocks within six months of their purchase. It imposed the ban early this year.

The Colombo Stock Exchange's main index opened firmer and gained 0.94 percent early but profit taking in the afternoon pulled it down to end 0.24 percent, or 13.85 points, weaker at 5,833.32, its lowest level since Sept. 13.

Turnover was 527.8 million rupees ($4.11 million), well below half of this year's daily average of 954 million rupees.

The bourse saw a net foreign outflow of 12.3 million rupees. However, foreigners have been net buyers to the tune of 32.38 billion rupees this year.

The rupee closed flat at 128.25/35 to the dollar, as importer demand for dollars was offset by dollar sales by a foreign bank, dealers said. ($1 = 128.3500 Sri Lanka rupees)

(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Robert Birsel)

((ranga.sirilal@thomsonreuters.com)(+94-11-232-5540)(Reuters

Messaging: ranga.sirilal.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: MARKETS SRILANKA/