(Colombo) REUTERS: Sri Lankan shares rose for the sixth straight session yesterday to hit a more than three-month closing high, as diversified and banking stocks gained, while the rupee ended steady.
The benchmark stock index gained 1.04 percent to 5,645.65, its highest close since April 4. Markets were closed on Tuesday for a holiday.
The index rose one percent last week, its third consecutive weekly gain. So far this year, however, the index is down about 6.72 percent.
Yesterday, the stock market’s turnover was Rs.737.2 million, more than this year’s daily average of about Rs.610.6 million. Last year’s daily average came in at Rs.834 million.
Foreign investors sold a net Rs.123.8 million worth of shares yesterday, but they have been net buyers of Rs.1.31 billion worth of equities so far this year, index data showed.
Shares in Dialog Axiata PLC jumped 5.94 percent, conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC ended 1.72 percent firmer and the country’s biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed up 3.08 percent.
Meanwhile, the currency closed steady at 175.65/75 per dollar, compared with Monday’s close, as importer demand for the greenback offset the dollar selling by banks. The rupee rose 0.37 percent last week, and is up 3.96 percent so far this year.
The rupee dropped 16 percent in 2018 and was one of the worst-performing currencies in Asia.
The Central Bank left key interest rates unchanged on Thursday 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.
The island nation raised US $ 2 billion via five-year and 10-year sovereign bond sales last month, tapping global capital markets for the second time in three months.
Foreign investors bought a net Rs.2.68 billion worth of government securities in the week ended July 10, but the market has seen a year-to-date net foreign outflow to Rs.19.73 billion, the Central Bank data showed.