August 3, 2018 / 11:16 AM / 2 months ago

Sri Lankan shares up for second session on foreign buying

COLOMBO, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares rose for the second straight session on Friday as foreign investors picked up shares that had been battered in recent days, brokers said.

Sri Lanka’s central bank left its key policy rates unchanged as expected on Friday before the market opened, and said the decision backed its goals for stabilising inflation and fostering sustainable economic growth.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.12 percent firmer at 6,143.90.

The index began the week by marking its lowest close since July 12 and fell 0.16 percent during the week, recording its second weekly decline. It is down 3.5 percent so far this year.

Turnover stood at 150.5 million rupees ($942,391.98), well below this year’s daily average of 844 million rupees.

“The market is moving sideways with low turnover levels as there is not much of selling pressure,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings.

“The buying interest is there but they are looking at cheaper prices, but there are no sellers which is a good sign for the market.”

Foreign investors bought equities worth a net 49.9 million rupees on Friday, but have been net sellers of 2.6 billion rupees worth of equities so far this year.

Sri Lanka’s central bank governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy on Friday said the economy is unlikely to grow more than 4 percent in 2018, falling short of an earlier estimate of 5 percent.

Shares of Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc ended 0.5 percent up, while Melstacorp Ltd rose 6.03 percent, Dialog Axiata Plc closed 2.1 percent firmer and biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc gained 1.5 percent. ($1 = 159.7000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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