COLOMBO Oct 4 Sri Lankan stocks closed at their
highest level in six weeks on Tuesday, led by record gains in
Commercial Credit and Finance Plc after Thailand's
Group Lease PCL bought a 30 percent stake in the firm.
Motorcycle lessor Group Lease has acquired a 30 percent
stake in Commercial Credit and Finance PLC (CCF) for $70
million, the company said on Monday, in its first major
expansion outside Southeast Asia.
Shares of CCF touched a record high of 77 rupees during the
session, before closing at 72.80 rupees.
"We saw strong interest in other financial shares as well
after this deal," said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First
Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.
The benchmark index of the Colombo Stock Exchange
ended firmer by 0.26 percent, or 17.02 points, at 6,591.41, its
highest close since Aug. 23.
"We are bullish on the outlook because the market interest
rates have fallen in the last one month. Large investors are
still waiting to see the budget. But we see some people are
ready to take risk in medium-term and buying now," Mathew added.
Treasury bill yields have slipped between 48 basis points
and 62 basis points in the last four weekly auctions through
Wednesday, the central bank data showed.
Analysts said they expected the index to rise this week due
to the fall in the return on fixed income assets.
Foreign investors bought a net 10 million rupees worth of
shares on Tuesday. But they have been net sellers of 2.85
billion rupees worth of equities so far this year.
Turnover stood at 621.7 million rupees ($4.26 million), less
than this year's daily average of 758.7 million rupees.
Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC climbed 2.3 percent.
However, analysts said the company's shares are likely to fall
on Wednesday after the government imposed a 20 percent tax on
tobacco with effect from Tuesday.
($1 = 146.1000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)