Sri Lankan shares hit 5-mth closing high on expectations of more foreign fund inflows

Wed Jan 22, 2014 6:48am EST

COLOMBO, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares closed at
their highest level in more than five months on Wednesday amid
high turnover and expectations of more foreign fund inflows
after an investor roadshow in Singapore earlier this week
boosted sentiment.
    The main stock index jumped 0.96 percent, or 59.13
points, to 6,212.67, its highest close since Aug. 19.
    Officials from the Colombo Stock Exchange and the Securities
and Exchange Commission, along with some top company officials
and brokers, were in Singapore for a roadshow on Monday to
attract more foreign funds.
    "The market is confident of more foreign investments into
stocks from Singapore," a stockbroker said. "The sentiment is
positive with low interest rates, and retail investors are also
slowly coming into the market." 
    Shares in market conglomerate John Keells Holdings 
gained 1 percent at 249.50 rupees. 
    The market has gained 4.5 percent in the last 10 sessions,
which analysts attributed to the central bank's interest rate
cut on Jan. 2 and the recent fall in T-bill yields.
  
    Yields in T-bills were almost flat at a weekly auction on
Wednesday at their more than two-year low. 
    The index has been in an overbought region since Jan. 7,
Thomson Reuters data showed. It has risen 5.07 percent so far
this year following a 4.8 percent gain in 2013 after having
fallen in the previous two years.
    The day's turnover was 1.4 billion rupees ($10.70 million),
more than last year's daily average of about 828.4 million
rupees.
    Foreign investors were net buyers of 290.7 million rupees
worth of shares, extending the year-to-date net inflow to 974.7
million rupees. They had bought 22.88 billion rupees of stocks
last year.
 ($1 = 130.8000 Sri Lanka rupees)

 (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)