August 29, 2018 / 12:23 PM / 3 months ago

Sri Lankan shares rebound from 17-mth closing low

COLOMBO, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares rebounded on Wednesday, from their lowest close in 17 months, boosted by local media reports citing the central bank governor that the main state-owned pension fund will return to the equity market.

The Employees’ Provident Fund, which had halted equity investments in 2015, is set to resume buying and selling shares, local papers reported on Wednesday citing Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy’s remarks at an event.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.57 percent higher at 6,044.67, edging up from its lowest close since March 28, 2017 hit on Tuesday. The bourse posted its second gain in 13 sessions.

The day’s turnover was at 1.1 billion rupees ($6.8 million), more than this year’s daily average of 817.4 million rupees.

“Market bounced back with healthy turnover,” said Hussain Gani, deputy CEO, Softlogic Stockbrokers.

“It’s a good sign that local investors are back after the central bank governor said government institutions will invest in equities.”

Foreign investors sold a net 590.2 million rupees of shares on Wednesday, extending the net foreign selling so far this year to 4 billion rupees worth of shares.

Shares in Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc rose 1.9 percent, while conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc ended 1.4 percent higher. The biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc closed 1.7 percent firmer.

The central bank had left its key policy rates unchanged, as expected, on Aug. 3, citing its goals of stabilising inflation and fostering sustainable economic growth.

The economy is unlikely to grow more than 4 percent in 2018, falling short of an earlier estimate of 5 percent, Coomaraswamy said early this month. ($1 = 161.3000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)

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