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Sri Lankan stocks gain on foreign buying


APRIL 25, 2018

COLOMBO, April 25 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares edged higher on Wednesday from their lowest close in more than one week as foreign buying provided some support to the market amid continued political uncertainty, stockbrokers said.

Foreign investors bought shares worth a net 315.9 million rupees ($2.0 million) on Wednesday, but they have been net sellers of 999.5 million rupees worth of equities so far this year.

The market has been awaiting 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.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.26 percent firmer at 6,533.63, edging up from its lowest close since April 16 hit on Tuesday. The index gained 0.88 percent last week.

“High level of foreign interest in banking shares such as Sampath Bank helped the index,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings.

“We have also seen some interest in blue chips after a while.”

Turnover stood at 845.4 million rupees, less than this year’s daily average of 1.1 billion rupees.

Shares of conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc rose 1.9 percent, while Ceylon Cold Stores Plc ended 3.2 percent firmer.

Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka Plc closed 2.4 percent higher and Sampath Bank gained 1.3 percent. ($1 = 157.6000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)