December 26, 2017 / 11:03 AM / 3 months ago

Sri Lankan stocks hit near 2-wk closing high

COLOMBO, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares touched a near two-week closing high on Tuesday, as investors picked up banking and diversified stocks, with muted trading as investors went on holiday in the Christmas week.

Investors were also waiting for direction on interest rates when the central bank unveils its monetary policy later this week, analysts said.

The Colombo Stock Index ended 0.42 percent firmer at 6,350.30, its highest since Dec. 15.

“The overall uptrend is due to some window-dressing in some of the blue chip counters,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Holdings.

“Overall investor interest is very low and it’s a very weak market with most of the broker community also on holiday.”

Shares in conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc gained 1.1 percent, while Sri Lanka Telecom Plc ended 4.1 percent higher and Hatton National Bank Plc rose 0.2 percent.

Turnover stood at 153.8 million rupees ($1.01 million), below this year’s daily average of 923.2 million rupees.

Foreign investors net sold 4.1 million rupees worth of shares on Tuesday, but they have net bought 18.4 billion rupees worth equities so far this year.

The currency and stock markets were closed on Monday for Christmas. ($1 = 152.6000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)

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