COLOMBO, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares ended steady in thin trade on Tuesday, hovering near a more than three-week closing low hit in the previous session, as investors largely stayed on the sidelines, stockbrokers said.

The benchmark Colombo stock index edged up 0.02 percent to 6,524.46, hovering near its lowest close since Aug. 12 hit on Monday. The bourse fell 0.2 percent last week, posting its second straight weekly loss.

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Foreign investors, who have net sold shares worth 2.78 billion rupees ($19.13 million) so far this year, bought a net 157.5 million rupees worth of shares on Tuesday.

Turnover stood at 449.3 million rupees, less than this year's daily average of 753.9 million rupees.

"Investors are on a wait and see mode with profit-taking here and there," said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

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Gains led by shares of Ceylon Cold Store Plc and Hemas Holdings Plc, which rose 1.5 percent and 2.6 percent respectively, were offset by losses led by conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc, which fell 1.25 percent. ($1 = 145.3000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)