June 14, 2017 / 12:02 PM / 2 months ago

Sri Lankan shares retreat from 5-1/2-week closing low; John Keells leads

COLOMBO, June 14 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares on Wednesday bounced from their five-week closing low hit in the previous session, led by gains in conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc and with foreign investors buying into the island nation's risky assets.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.32 percent firmer at 6,669.73, edging up from its lowest close since May 5 hit on Tuesday.

Last week, the bourse dropped 0.3 percent, posting its third consecutive weekly decline.

"Investors bought John Keells Holdings heavily and retail sentiment also improved," said Prashan Fernando, CEO, Acuity Stockbrokers in Colombo.

Turnover was 1.06 billion rupees ($6.95 million), above this year's daily average of 899.4 million rupees.

Foreign investors were net buyers of 18.9 million rupees worth of shares, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to 20.7 billion rupees.

Analysts said investors are still waiting to see the impact of the recent floods and landslides, caused by the worst torrential rains in 14 years, killing over 200 people and devastating crops.

Inflation could rise in the short term, especially due to crop damage and difficulties in distributing fresh food produce and staple food items, analysts said.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc rose 3.36 percent, while the country's biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc ended 0.89 percent higher.

$1 = 152.5000 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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