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Sri Lankan shares rise on gains in blue chips, foreign buying

First Capital’s Head of Research, Dimantha Mathew, speaks to Reuters Tuesday Nov 03, 2016

Nov 3 Sri Lankan shares closed Thursday at a near-two week high, helped by gains in blue chips and as foreign investors picked up beaten down stocks.

The benchmark index of the Colombo Stock Exchange ended 0.2 percent higher, or 13.05 points, at 6,442.09, its second straight session of gains.  Turnover stood at 217.7 million rupees ($1.47 million), less than a third of this year’s daily average of 721.1 million.

Foreign investors were net buyers for a second straight session, picking up stocks worth 61.5 million rupees. They have net sold 1.3 billion rupees worth of shares so far this year.  “Suddenly, foreign buying has come into the market after the index fell to near 6,400. It’s like the psychological barrier of 6,400 levels has worked,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

Shares in Nestle Lanka Plc jumped 4.47 percent while conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc gained 1.27 percent and the biggest listed lender, Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, rose 0.67 percent.

($1 = 147.7000 Sri Lankan rupees)

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