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Sri Lankan stocks hit over 3-month high; bluechips lead


FEBRUARY 22, 2018

COLOMBO, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended higher for a fifth straight session on Wednesday led by bluechips on hopes of political stability after two key parties decided to remain in the ruling coalition, allaying fears of a government collapse.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.32 percent firmer at 6,598.73, its highest close since Nov. 6, 2017.

“Interestingly, we saw some buying interest in blue chips and especially foreign interest is picking up,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings.

“Now that things are settling down, buying interest in bluechips is improving with continued retail buying.”

The two key coalition parties that were routed in a local election last week, sparking concerns of political instability, on Wednesday told the parliament that their government will continue.

Turnover stood at 829.4 million rupees ($5.35 million), marginally below the year’s daily average of 849.4 million rupees.

Foreign investors bought a net 171.6 million rupees worth of shares on Wednesday, extending net foreign buying to 5.8 billion rupees worth of equities so far this year.

Shares in Dialog Axiata Plc ended 0.7 percent higher, while conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc gained 0.5 percent. The biggest-listed lender, Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, closed 1.5 percent firmer.

The index dropped 0.13 percent last week, ending a three-week winning streak. ($1 = 155.1500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan)