(Colombo) REUTERS: Sri Lankan shares hit their highest close in six months yesterday, led by a rally in banks and diversified stocks along with healthy purchases by domestic investors.
The rupee ended weaker due to importer dollar demand. The country’s benchmark stock index jumped for a fifth straight session to end 2.08 percent up at 5,995.20, its highest close since January 29.
Analysts said lower interest rates boosted local investor sentiment. However, the bourse is still down about 0.94 percent so far this year.
The country’s stock market had a turnover of Rs.1.8 billion, nearly three times of this year’s daily average of about Rs.624.3 million so far. Last year’s daily average came in at Rs.834 million.
Foreign investors sold a net Rs.317 million worth of shares; the year-to-date net buying stood at Rs.883.2 million, index data showed.
Hatton National Bank PLC climbed 8.2 percent, Ceylon Cold Stores PLC rose 5.5 percent, the biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC ended 3.4 percent higher and conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC ended
1.3 percent firmer.
Meanwhile, the currency ended weaker at 176.20/25 per dollar compared to Friday’s close of 176.15/25. The rupee is up 3.63 percent so far this year.
The Central Bank left key interest rates unchanged on July 11 as expected, after cutting them in May to support the economy as tourism and investment plummeted in the wake of deadly suicide bombings in April.
Foreign investors sold a net Rs.3.74 billion worth of government securities in the week ended July 24, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to Rs.22.19 billion, the Central Bank data showed.