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Sri Lankan stocks climb to 1-week high; foreign buying boosts turnover


APRIL 7, 2018

COLOMBO, April 5 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares climbed on Thursday to their highest close in one week as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe survived a no-confidence motion, easing political uncertainty, dealers said.

Wickremesinghe won the motion as late on Wednesday as a majority of legislators voted to support his coalition government but the instability caused may damage its reform agenda.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.47 percent up at 6,474.70, edging up from its lowest close since March 28 hit on Wednesday.

The stock market gains come a day after the central bank unexpectedly cut its key lending rate by 25 basis points, as policy makers sought to revitalise an economy growing at its weakest pace in 16 years and facing heightened political uncertainty.

The index climbed 0.51 percent last week, its first weekly gain in five, but dropped 1.14 percent last month.

Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka Plc rose 4.8 percent.

“There was an initial spike with some buying interest in Distilleries, while foreign buying dominated the turnover levels,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings.

The turnover stood at 993.4 million rupees ($6.39 million), lower than this year’s daily average of around 1.2 billion rupees.

Foreign investors bought shares worth net 421.9 million rupees on Thursday, but they have been net sellers of 871.6 million rupees worth equities so far this year.

Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc ended 0.8 percent higher, while Lanka ORIX Leasing Company Plc rose 2.3 percent and Hatton National Bank Plc firmed 0.9 percent. ($1 = 155.4000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)