November 17, 2017 / 12:38 PM / a year ago

Sri Lankan shares rise for 2nd session on John Keells

COLOMBO, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares rose half a percent on Friday, climbing for a second straight session, buoyed by gains in market heavyweight John Keells Holdings on bargain hunting.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.54 percent firmer at 6,483.55, recovering from its lowest close since Sept. 27 hit on Wednesday.

It shed 2.6 percent in the five sessions through Wednesday on worries over new taxes on cash-rich telecom and banking sectors. It shed 1 percent this week.

“There was strong interest in Keells shares. The market is recovering after some unclear budget policies,” said Jaliya Wijeratne, CEO at First Capital Equities.

John Keells shares rose 2.3 percent, while Cargills (Ceylon) Plc climbed 2.4 percent.

Foreign investors, who have net bought equities worth 19.6 billion rupees so far this year, net sold shares worth 92.6 million rupees ($602,865) on Friday.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera imposed new taxes on motor vehicles, telecoms, banks and liquor in a bid to boost revenues in its 2018 budget outlined last week, as the budget deficit for the current year slipped to 5.2 percent of the gross domestic product.

Samaraweera imposed taxes on telecom towers and text messages, and introduced a debt repayment levy of 20 cents per 1,000 rupee bank transaction with effect from April 1 next year.

Turnover was 717.6 million rupees on Friday, less than this year’s average of around 953.6 million rupees. ($1 = 153.6000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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