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Sri Lankan shares end higher on foreign buying; tax bill weighs



COLOMBO, Sept 8 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares posted their second straight session of gains on Friday, further moving away from the lowest close in more than four months hit this week, as foreign investors picked up beaten down shares.

The Sri Lanka parliament on Thursday passed tax reforms that should simplify the tax system, widen the tax base and increase government revenue, as agreed with the International Monetary Fund in exchange for a $1.5 billion, three-year loan.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.22 percent higher at 6,375.86.

The bourse fell 0.2 percent during the week, its eight straight weekly fall. As of Friday’s close, it shed 4.4 percent since July 27.

Shares of Ceylon Cold Stores Plc ended 1.6 percent higher, while Asiri Hospitals Plc closed up 6 percent, Browns Investments Plc closed 6.5 percent higher and Dialog Axiata Plc ended 0.9 percent firmer.

Foreign investors net bought 78.8 million rupees ($516,044.53) worth of shares, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to 27.8 billion rupees worth equities.

“We have seen active participation of foreign investors after the inland revenue bill was passed,” said Atchuthan Srirangan, senior research analyst, First Capital Holdings PLC.

“We are seeing buying interest in blue chips. We expect market to see more active participation from both local and foreigners next week onwards,” he added.

The bill, Sri Lanka’s major tax reform since independence from Britain in 1948, seeks to expand the tax net and stamp out evasion.

Turnover stood at 688.1 million rupees, less than this year’s daily average of around 859.9 million rupees.

The comments on this report are provided by the Capital Markets Research Unit of First Capital Holdings PLC an investment bank in Sri Lanka.

The company operates in the capital markets of Sri Lanka in government securities – treasury bills and bonds, stock brokering and share market investments, asset management, private wealth management,  retirement planning, personal financial planning, unit trust, margin trading, capital market research, trustee services, corporate finance advisory services including corporate debt structuring (debentures, trust certificates, commercial papers), valuations, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings (IPOs) and project advisory. 

The First Capital Group consists of First Capital Treasuries PLC, First Capital Limited, First Capital Markets Limited, First Capital Asset Management Limited and First Capital Equities (Private) Limited covering Colombo, Negombo, Matara, Kandy and Kurunegala.<

First Capital is an investment bank offering services as Stock Brokers in Sri Lanka. The Company acts as a conduit between retail and institutional clients and the secondary market of the Colombo Stock Exchange. First Capital’s best-in-class research team provide a series of actionable trade recommendations, daily and periodic market commentaries and publications for Stock Brokers in Sri Lanka.