COLOMBO May 12 Sri Lankan shares ended
marginally higher on Friday, near a one-year high, led by gains
in blue chips such as Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc and
conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc.
Stockbrokers said they expect the bullish trend to continue
next week with the central bank holding key policy rates steady
amid falling T-bill yields.
With the pressure on the rupee abating and yields on
government securities easing, the central bank kept key interest
rates steady at a policy meeting on Tuesday.
The Colombo stock index ended 0.08 percent firmer at
6,671.98, its highest close since May 18, 2016. The index added
0.5 percent this week, its seventh straight weekly gain.
"The interest rate decision is a boost to the market. That
was kind of a direction to say now the trend in the rising
interest rate should reverse," said Hussain Gani, deputy CEO at
Financial markets were closed on Wednesday and Thursday for
Buddhist religious holidays.
Turnover stood at 651.6 million rupees ($4.28 million), less
than this year's daily average of 891 million rupees.
Foreign investors net bought shares worth 38.5 million
rupees, extending their year-to-date investment in equities to
16.81 billion rupees.
They bought a net 14.32 billion rupees in the last 33
sessions, out of which, foreign investors were net buyers in 32.
Reduction of 36-38 basis points in T-bill yields in the last
three weeks, stable currency on expectation of inflows from
foreign borrowing, and an IMF statement on the disbursement of
the third tranche of a $1.5 billion loan, have helped boost
sentiment, analysts said.,,
Shares in Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc rose 0.7
percent, while John Keells Holdings Plc gain 0.5
percent and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, the
country's biggest listed lender, climbed 0.9 percent.
($1 = 152.3000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas