(Colombo) REUTERS: Sri Lankan shares and the rupee gained yesterday, with investors waiting for policy manifestos of the two front-runners in next month’s presidential poll.
Former defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Housing Minister Sajith Premadasa will announce their policy framework on Friday and Nov. 1, respectively. Analysts had said investors were waiting to see their views on tax, subsidies and private businesses.
Shares edged up for a sixth straight session and closed at their highest level in ten weeks, buoyed by diversified and telecom stocks.
The benchmark stock index rose 0.47 percent to 5,916.28, the highest close since Aug. 15, 2019. The index has fallen 2.25 percent so far this year.
The rupee ended 0.17 percent firmer at 181.10/25 per dollar, compared with Wednesday’s close of 181.40/50. The currency is up 0.82 percent so far this year. Foreign investors were net sellers of riskier assets for the second time in five sessions. They sold a net Rs.223.5 million (US$1.23 million) worth of shares, extending the year-to-date net foreign selling to Rs.3.94 billion of equities, according to index data.
Equity market turnover was Rs.731.3 million, more than this year’s daily average of about Rs.665.8 million. Last year’s daily average was Rs.834.0 million. Meanwhile, foreign investors sold government securities on a net basis for the eighth time in nine weeks, selling a net Rs.724.9 million worth of government securities in the week ended Oct. 16.
Total foreign outflows from government securities through Oct. 16 stood at Rs.55.6 billion, as per Central Bank data.
Central Bank left its key rates unchanged on Oct. 11 after loosening policy earlier this year, although growth is likely to remain subdued as the economy faces rising