COLOMBO Feb 13 Sri Lankan shares hit a more
than one week closing high on Monday as investors picked up
battered blue chips such as John Keells Holdings Plc
and Dialog Axiata Plc, brokers said.
The Colombo stock index ended 0.73 percent firmer at
6,138.73, its highest close since Feb. 2.
The index hit its lowest closing level since March on Feb.
"Bargain hunting in blue chips drove the market, but rest of
the market, retailers and high net-worth investors are on the
sidelines," said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First
Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.
"The only positive news we heard is the Fitch rating
revision, but still investors are waiting to see the direction."
On Thursday, Fitch Ratings affirmed Sri Lanka's Long-Term
Foreign- and Local Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at 'B+'
and revised the outlook to 'stable' from 'negative'.
Shares of John Keells Holdings Plc rose 1.64
percent, while Dialog Axiata Plc jumped 3.77 percent
and the biggest listed lender, Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc
climbed 1.36 percent.
Turnover stood at 785.1 million rupees ($5.21 million), more
than this year's daily average of 625.8 million rupees.
Foreign investors net bought 332.6 million rupees worth of
equities on Monday. They have net sold 371.2 million rupees
worth of shares so far this year.
Sri Lankan stocks have been hit by political uncertainty
arising from a decision of the ruling coalition parties to
contest local polls separately, and on worries over a rise in
market interest rates.
Last week, the country's central bank kept key rates steady
for a sixth straight month, but flagged possible "corrective
measures" in the months ahead in a sign further tightening might
be on the cards to temper inflation pressures and safeguard a
Yields on treasury bills are hovering at a more than
Sri Lanka's stock and foreign exchange markets were closed
on Friday for a Buddhist religious holiday.
($1 = 150.7500 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju