Sri Lanka shares up sixth straight session; near 5-month high

Thu Jan 16, 2014 6:46am EST

COLOMBO, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan stocks rose for a
sixth straight session to a near five-month high on Thursday,
led by market heavyweight John Keells Holdings PLC, as
falling interest rates helped retail investor sentiment and
foreign investors bought risky assets on a net basis.
    The main stock index gained 0.83 percent, or 50.59
points, to end at 6,166.98, its highest close since Aug. 19. It
has gained 3.73 percent in the last six sessions and is in an
overbought market.
    Shares in conglomerate John Keells Holdings rose 3.98
percent to 240.20 rupees.
    Analysts said the central bank's interest rate cut on Jan. 2
and the recent fall in T-bill yields had boosted sentiment and
helped sustain gains.  
    The yield on 91-day T-bills fell at a weekly auction on
Monday to its lowest since January 2007, the date the central
bank made data available. Yields on 182-day and 364-day T-bills
are at their lowest since Oct. 15, 2010. 
    The index has risen 4.30 percent so far this year after a
4.8 percent gain in 2013. It fell in 2012 and 2011.
    The day's turnover was 1.87 billion rupees ($14.31 million),
surpassing last year's daily average of about 828.4 million
rupees.
    Foreign investors were net buyers of 552.9 million rupees
worth of shares on Thursday, extending the year-to-date net
inflow to 719.1 million rupees.
    Offshore investors bought a net 22.88 billion rupees worth
of stocks last year.
($1 = 130.7000 Sri Lanka rupees)

 (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil
Nair)