COLOMBO, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares closed at a more than 10-week high in brisk trade on Wednesday as heavy buying by foreign investors in index heavyweight John Keells Holdings buoyed sentiment across the board.
The benchmark Colombo stock index ended 0.52 percent higher, or up 33.64 points at 6,543.75, its highest close since May 31.
“Foreign interest in John Keells boosted sentiment,” said Prashan Fernando, COO at Acuity Stockbrokers.
John Keells Holdings jumped as much as 3.15 percent intraday as foreign investors net bought around 720,000 shares, before closing 2.1 percent higher.
Shares have risen on hopes economic fundamentals would improve after the central bank on July 28 raised its main interest rates by 50 basis points each in a surprise move aimed at curbing stubbornly high credit growth.
Foreign investors net bought 100.4 million rupees ($690,034) worth of shares on Wednesday, extending the net foreign inflow to 1.35 billion rupees worth of equities in the last 11 sessions.
Foreign investors have so far net sold 3.46 billion rupees worth of shares this year.
Turnover stood at 751.6 million rupees ($5.16 million), slightly higher than this year’s daily average of around 733.1 million rupees.
Among other gainers, Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc rose 1.62 percent.
Analysts said investors also shrugged off a Supreme Court order asking parliament to stop considering a bill to raise the value-added tax as the draft had not followed due process.
The move could put in jeopardy the government’s ambitious fiscal consolidation plan to reduce the budget deficit to 5.4 percent of gross domestic product from last year’s 7.4 percent. ($1 = 145.6000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)