Sri Lanka shares gain; John Keells leads

Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:31am EST

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COLOMBO, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan stocks rose on
Monday, led by diversified shares such as John Keells Holdings
PLC, but foreign investors sold risky assets in an
overbought market.
    The main stock index rose 0.42 percent, or 25.63
points, to end at 6,156.68. 
    "We see positive sentiment and retail investors are
gradually coming in to the market," a stockbroker said. "The
fall in interest rates and the Singapore roadshow should help
the market to sustain the gains."
    Officials from the bourse and the Securities and Exchange
Commission along with some top company officials and brokers are
in Singapore for a roadshow to attract more foreign funds.     
    Shares of market heavyweight and top conglomerate John
Keells Holdings rose 1.97 percent to 242.70 rupees. 
    The market has gained 3.56 percent in the last eight
sessions, which analysts attributed to the central bank's
interest rate cut on Jan. 2 and the recent fall in T-bill
yields.  
    The index has been in an overbought region since Jan. 7,
Thomson Reuters data showed. It has risen 3.69 percent so far
this year after a 4.8 percent gain in 2013 after having fallen
in the previous two years.
    The day's turnover was 675.8 million rupees ($5.17 million),
below last year's daily average of about 828.4 million rupees.
    Foreign investors were net sellers for the second straight
session on Monday, selling 46.9 million rupees worth of shares.
But they have been net buyers of 591.9 million rupees in shares
so far this year after buying 22.88 billion rupees of stocks
last year.
   ($1 = 130.7000 Sri Lanka rupees)

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