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COLOMBO, April 18 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares rose on Tuesday as foreign investors bought blue chips, with the market seeing overseas fund inflows for 18 consecutive sessions.
Foreign investors net bought shares worth 172.8 million rupees on Tuesday. They have bought equities worth a net 5.4 billion rupees ($35.57 million) in 18 straight sessions, taking the year-to-date net foreign inflow into equities to 7.9 billion rupees.
The Colombo stock index ended 0.5 percent firmer at 6,382.37 after falling on Monday for the first time in 12 sessions on profit taking.
The index had climbed 7.2 percent over 11 sessions up to Wednesday. The market was closed for Sri Lanka's traditional new year holidays on Thursday and Friday.
"Foreign buying is very strong at the moment which is a very good sign. Foreigners are bullish," said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.
"We expect short-term profit taking, but the market will gain after some strong inflows from sovereign bond (as it will lend support to the rupee)."
Sri Lankan authorities are in the process of raising up to $1.5 billion through sovereign bonds in the near future.
Turnover stood at 836.1 million rupees, more than this year's daily average of 775.6 million rupees.
Shares in top mobile phone operator Dialog Axiata gained 2.7 percent, while conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc rose 1.1 percent.
$1 = 151.8000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan