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Sri Lankan shares rise on bargain hunting, snap 5-day losing streak


Sri Lankan shares edged higher on Friday, ending a five-day losing streak and recovering from a nine-month low hit in the prior session as investors picked up battered down shares.

People walk past an electronic board displaying various Asian countries' stock price index and world major index outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, August 21, 2015.  REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

Foreign investors turned net buyers on Friday after offloading shares for five straight sessions.

The bourse hit a nine-month low on Thursday as foreign investors sold close to one billion rupees worth of stocks in the first four sessions of 2017 amid worries over a weakening rupee and rising interest rates hurt sentiment.

Foreign investors bought a net 26.95 million rupees ($180,026.72) worth of equities on Friday. They have been net sellers to the tune of 969.69 million rupees so far this year.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.09 percent up at 6,153.02, edging up from its lowest close since April 4 hit on Thursday. It fell 0.64 percent for the week and was down 9.7 percent in 2016, its second straight annual decline.

The index has been trading in the oversold territory since Tuesday with the 14-day relative strength index breaking below 30, Thomson Reuters data showed. A level between 30 and 70 indicates the market is neutral.  The day’s turnover was at 273.7 million rupees.

“Market edged up in thin volumes despite continued selling pressure,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

Analysts said interest rate volatility and policy uncertainties are also hurting investor sentiment.

Yields on treasury bill auctions rose 5-6 basis points at a weekly auction on Wednesday, a day after the central bank governor signalled less intervention to defend the currency as market has braced for a depreciation.

Shares in Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc rose 1.17 percent while Colombo Cold Stores Plc rose 1.26 percent and Dialog Axiata Plc rose 0.95 percent.

Shares in biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc rose 0.42 percent while Conglomerate John Keells ended 0.43 percent up.  Talks of a high net worth foreign investor exiting from Keells has triggered panic selling, dealers said.

($1 = 149.7000 Sri Lankan rupees)

(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan)