October 3, 2017 / 12:32 PM / in 18 days

Sri Lankan shares post over 7-wk closing high in high turnover

COLOMBO, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares rose for the fourth straight session on Tuesday and closed at their highest level in more than seven weeks, with banks leading the gains.

Turnover hit a two-week high due to buying across the board, while foreign investors continued to purchase Sri Lankan equities.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.36 percent higher at 6,494.22, its highest close since Aug. 10.

The index gained 0.2 percent last week, in its third straight weekly gain.

Turnover stood at 1.3 billion rupees ($8.49 million), its highest since Sept. 20 and well above this year’s daily average of 915.1 million rupees.

Strong buying interest continued to be seen along with foreign buying, said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Holdings.

“Investors were buying blue chips and there were all sorts of buying. We expect the overall positive sentiment in the market to continue for a few more days,” he said.

Analysts said the market shrugged off a statement by the International Monetary Fund on Friday that Sri Lanka’s central bank should be ready to tighten monetary policy to contain inflation and credit growth.

Foreign investors bought a net 9.6 million rupees worth of shares on Tuesday, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to 18 billion rupees worth of equities.

Shares of Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, the country’s biggest listed lender, rose 1.6 percent, Hatton National Bank Plc gained 2.1 percent and Cargills (Ceylon) Plc ended 3.8 percent firmer.

Sampath Bank Plc rose 3.2 percent and conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc ended up 0.6 percent. ($1 = 153.2000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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