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RPT-Sri Lankan stocks edge up on buying in blue chips


COLOMBO, April 27 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended slightly firmer on Friday with block deals in blue chips pushing up the day’s turnover to a more than three-week high, although political uncertainty dampened investor appetite for risk assets, stockbrokers said.

The market has been waiting for signs of political stability after President Maithripala Sirisena suspended parliament until May 8. A cabinet reshuffle was expected on Monday, but government sources said it had been delayed.

Fitch Ratings said on Thursday that recent political developments in Sri Lanka have created some uncertainty over reform momentum and fiscal consolidation, and prolonged upheaval could undermine investor confidence ahead of large external debt maturities in 2019-22.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.14 percent firmer at 6,531.06. The index lost 0.15 percent on week.

Shares of Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka Plc closed 4.3 percent higher, while Lanka ORIX Leasing Company Plc rose 1.6 percent.

Conglomerate John Keells Holding Plc, which accounted for 58.8 percent of the day’s turnover, ended down 0.1 percent.

“Today, we saw a large turnover after long time coming from some crossings (block trades) in some blue chips. Other than that there were no big trades as most of the investors are still on the sidelines,” said Atchuthan Srirangan, assistant manager – research at First Capital Holdings PLC.

“The investors are still on the sidelines waiting to see the direction of the prevailing political uncertainty and the rupee currency.”

Turnover stood at 971.9 million rupees ($6.17 million), the highest since April 4, but less than this year’s daily average of 1.1 billion rupees.

Foreign investors sold shares worth a net 53 million rupees on Friday, extending the year to date net foreign outflow to 938.6 million rupees worth of equities so far this year.

Stock, bond and foreign exchange markets are closed on Monday for a public holiday and markets will resume trading on Tuesday. ($1 = 157.6000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)