Turkish lira firms, shares up in extremely thin trade

ISTANBUL Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:48am EST

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ISTANBUL Dec 26 (Reuters) - The Turkish lira firmed slightly against the dollar and shares hit a record high in extremely thin post-Christmas trade on Wednesday, while bond yields inched up.

By 1535 GMT, the lira stood at 1.7925 to the dollar , from 1.7944 late on Tuesday. Against its euro-dollar basket it eased to 2.0830, from 2.0803.

The yield on the two-year benchmark bond closed at 6.08 percent, from Wednesday's close at 6.05 percent.

Istanbul's main share index closed up 0.51 percent at 77,991 points, after hitting a record 78,239.93, led by banking shares which rose 0.81 percent. The global emerging markets index was up 0.21 percent.

"The shares rose in almost nil trading. Investors consider Turkey as a safe haven due to its strong banking sector and reliable macroeconomic policies. Therefore they still buy Turkish shares," said Sadrettin Bagci, an analyst at Yatirim Finansman.

Shares in Turkish lender Aktifbank continued to rise and closed up 12.25 percent at 2.29 lira after it said on Dec. 24 that Anadolu Holding, which has a 77.7 percent stake in the bank, will start talks to sell its stake to Commercial Bank of Qatar.

Petrochemicals maker Petkim rose 3.25 percent to 2.86 lira after it signed an agreement with its indirect major shareholder, Azeri state energy company SOCAR, to buy natural gas starting from Jan. 1, 2013, a move seen reducing Petkim's costs. (Writing by Seltem Iyigun)

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