COLOMBO, April 21 Sri Lankan shares gained on
Friday to hit a more than six-month closing high on foreign
buying in market heavyweight John Keells Holdings,
helping boost the overall sentiment.
Foreign investors net bought equities worth 1.35 billion
rupees ($8.88 million) on Friday, extending the week's net
foreign buying to 6.56 billion rupees.
Foreign investors have been net buyers for the last 21
sessions, acquiring equities worth a net 11.77 billion, taking
the year-to-date net foreign inflow into equities to 14.27
The Colombo stock index ended 0.5 percent firmer at
6,535.54, its highest close since Oct. 11. It has climbed 9.4
percent in the 16 sessions through Friday, having risen for 15
sessions in that period.
The index added 2.1 percent on the week, marking its fourth
week of gains.
"Foreign investors see extremely attractive valuation in the
blue chips and growing earnings. They also see some political
stability and stabilisation of the economy," said Dimantha
Mathew, head of research, First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.
"But local investors are still waiting for some kind of
strong direction by the government. The bullish run will prevail
in the near future with local investors also starting to buy
Stockbrokers also said the market was also encouraged by
comments made by President Maithripala Sirisena on making the
government effective, as reported in the local media.
Turnover stood at 3.27 billion rupees ($21.51 million), more
than three times of this year's daily average of 877.8 million
John Keells Holdings, which accounted for 81 percent of the
day's turnover, jumped 2.2 percent, while top lender Commercial
bank of Ceylon rose 1.7 percent.
($1 = 152.0000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)