REUTERS: Sri Lankan shares rose for a sixth straight session in muted trade yesterday, ending 2017 with a modest 2.3 percent gain after two consecutive
The Colombo Stock Index edged up 0.08 percent to 6,369.26, its highest since Dec. 8 and posting the first annual increase in three years after falling 9.7 percent in 2016.
Asiri Hospitals Plc rose 24.4 percent, while Carson Cumberbatch Plc ended 0.6 percent higher and conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc gained 0.3 percent.
Turnover stood at Rs.379.98 million (US$2.48 million), less than this year’s daily average of Rs.915.3 million and last year’s Rs.737.2 million.
Foreign investors net bought shares worth Rs.143.4 million yesterday, extending the 2017 net foreign inflow to Rs.18.5 billion. They net bought Rs.633.5 million worth equities in 2016.
“We expect the market to start the next year in a positive note as the central bank held the rates and gave a clear direction on where the interest rates are going to be,” said Hussain Gani, deputy CEO at Softlogic Stockbrokers.
“The first two months, the election fever will be there. Investors will look for policy direction after the elections and what policies to boost growth.”
Sri Lanka will hold a long-delayed local government election on Feb. 10.
The country’s Central Bank, which kept benchmark interest rates unchanged on Thursday, expects growth to come in below 4 percent this year, lower than its original 2017 growth forecast of 5.0 percent. The US$81 billion economy grew at an annual pace of 3.7 percent in the first nine months of 2017, which followed its most severe drought in 40 years in the first quarter and the worst flooding in 14 years in May.