COLOMBO, June 23 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares closed little changed on Friday, but sentiment was positive as the central bank kept key policy rates steady and as foreign investors bought diversified shares such as Hemas Holdings Plc and John Keells Holdings.
The banking regulator said the current monetary policy, which was in line with forecasts, was appropriate as it expected the economy to recover in the second half of the year.
The Colombo stock index ended 0.01 percent firmer at 6,715.33, but fell 0.05 percent on week.
“Unchanged policy rates could be one reason for the positive and healthy atmosphere that was there today,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings PLC.
“It was a very active day with all retail, high networth institutional and foreign investors trading in the market.”
Turnover was 2.7 billion rupees ($17.64 million), nearly three times this year’s daily average of 921.1 million rupees.
Foreign investors net bought 257.7 million rupees ($1.68 million) worth of shares, extending the year to date net foreign inflow to 21.1 billion rupees worth of equities.
Shares of conglomerate John Keells ended 1.2 percent firmer, while Ceylinco Insurance Plc rose 6.7 percent and Hemas Holdings closed up 1.9 percent.
The markets will be closed on Monday for Id-Ul-Fitr or the Ramzan Festival Day. Normal trading will resume on Tuesday. ($1 = 153.1000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)