Sri Lankan shares recover on foreign buying; rupee at 1-month closing low

COLOMBO, April 23 Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:40am EDT

COLOMBO, April 23 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares edged up on Tuesday in thin volume trade, ending two sessions of losses, on foreign buying in select shares, while the rupee closed at its lowest level in a month on dollar demand from importers.

The main stock index rose 0.17 percent, or 9.82 points, to 5,872.43.

Foreign investors bought mainly Lion Brewery Ceylon PLC which ended 5.7 percent firmer.

Foreign investors were net buyers for the 16th straight session with 224.1 million rupees worth of shares, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to 8.42 billion rupees ($66.56 million). Last year, the bourse saw a net inflow of $303 million.

The turnover was at 708.5 million rupees, less than this year's daily average of 964 million rupees.

The market had hit a six-month high on Thursday on hopes of an expected fall in interest rates, after Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera and the central bank said official interest rates could ease in May and June.

The rupee fell for a sixth straight session to 126.78/85 per dollar, its lowest close since March 22, due to demand from importers for the greenback, currency dealers said. The currency had ended at 126.65/85 on Monday.

($1 = 126.5000 Sri Lanka rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)