COLOMBO, March 31 Sri Lankan shares closed at
their highest in nearly three weeks on Friday, rising for a
fourth straight session on purchases by foreign investors and
on quarter-end window dressing, stockbrokers said.
The Colombo stock index ended 0.36 percent firmer at
6,061.94, its highest close since March 13. The index rose 1.1
percent on week, posting its first weekly gain in six.
"We are seeing some significant improvement in investor
confidence. Local institutions have started to come in to the
market. They may be feeling that this is the right time as the
market has bottomed out," said Dimantha Mathew, head of
research, First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.
"Retail investors are still on wait and see, but the bigger
players are getting in with heavy foreign participation."
Foreign investors net bought shares worth 1.06 billion
rupees ($6.99 million) on Friday, the highest net foreign
purchases since Dec. 8, raising the year-to-date net foreign
inflow to 5.64 billion rupees in equities.
Turnover stood at 1.74 billion rupees, well above this
year's daily average of 734.8 million rupees.
Shares of biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon
Plc climbed 1.57 percent, while Ceylinco Insurance Plc
jumped 6.46 percent and conglomerate John Keells
Holdings Plc rose 0.66 percent.
($1 = 151.7500 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)