September 14, 2017 / 11:19 AM / a year ago

Sri Lankan shares hit over 1-week closing high; tax bill weighs

COLOMBO, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares ended at more than a one-week closing high on Thursday, helped by gains in beverage and diversified shares, even as investors adopted a wait-and-watch approach to assess the impact of a new tax bill, brokers said.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.14 percent firmer at 6,381.46, its highest close since Sept.4. It fell 0.2 percent last week, its eighth straight weekly drop.

“Market is slow and steady as most of the investors are on a wait-and-see approach as they want more clarity on the tax bill and direction from the budget,” said Reshan Kurukulasuriya, chief operating officer of Richard Pieris Securities (Pvt) Ltd.

The country’s finance minister is scheduled to present the government’s 2018 national budget on Nov 9.

The parliament passed tax reforms on Sept. 7 that should simplify the tax system, widen the tax base and increase government revenue, as agreed with the International Monetary Fund in exchange for a $1.5 billion, three-year loan.

Foreign investors net bought 69.8 million rupees worth of shares on Thursday, extending their year-to-date net inflow to 27.7 billion rupees worth of equities.

Turnover stood at 346.5 million rupees, well below this year’s daily average of around 859.1 million rupees.

Shares of Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc rose 4.2 percent, while Dialog Axiata Plc ended 1.8 percent higher and conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc rose 0.5 percent.

On Wednesday after market hours, diversified conglomerate Hayleys Plc said it had agreed to purchase 61.73 percent of Singer Sri Lanka Plc for 10.9 billion rupees.

On Tuesday, top mobile phone operator Dialog Axiata Plc said that it acquired 80.34 percent of Colombo Trust Finance Plc for 1.072 billion rupees ($7 million). ($1 = 152.9500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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