February 23, 2017 / 11:32 AM / 5 months ago

Sri Lankan shares end firmer; earnings lift sentiment

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COLOMBO, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares ended slightly firmer on Thursday, further moving away from a more than one-week closing low hit earlier in the week, as better-than-expected corporate earnings boosted sentiment, although concerns over rising rates capped gains.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.14 percent firmer at 6,138.14. It fell 0.35 percent on week.

The bourse will remain closed on Friday for a Hindu religious holiday.

"December-quarter earnings helped boost sentiment. Some companies have reported better-than-expected earnings," said Prashan Fernando, CEO at Acuity Stockbrokers.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, which posted a 25.8 percent increase in profit for the quarter ended Dec. 31, rose 0.63 percent.

Shares in Lion Brewery Plc jumped 4.9 percent, while Carson Cumberbatch Plc climbed 4.8 percent and Hatton National Bank Plc rose 1.7 percent.

Turnover stood at 356.4 million rupees ($2.36 million), well below this year's daily average of 605.6 million rupees.

Foreign investors net bought 79.5 million rupees worth of equities on Thursday, but they have net sold 135.5 million rupees worth shares so far this year.

Yields on treasury bills have risen to more than four-year highs, while the central bank has kept key policy rates on hold. ($1 = 151.2500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)

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