Sri Lanka shares close at 11-month high, foreign inflows boost

COLOMBO Mon May 12, 2014 8:02am EDT

COLOMBO May 12 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan stocks rose on Monday to an 11-month closing high, led by oil palms and financials, while market sentiment was boosted by a lower interest rate regime and foreign inflows.

Stockbrokers said many investors have been compelled to return to the stock market due to multi-year low interest rates, which has made fixed income assets less attractive.

The main stock index rose 0.29 percent, or 18.29 points, to 6,303.16, its highest close since June 11. The gains were led by Bukit Darah Plc, which rose 4.76 percent to 680 rupees.

Foreign investors, on a buying streak for the last six sessions, were net buyers of 121.2 million rupees of stocks on Monday. They have been net sellers of 403.4 million rupees so far this year.

The day's turnover was 866.5 million rupees, below this year's daily average of 1.04 billion rupees.

Analysts, however, said lower credit growth has raised questions around growth and earnings amid lower consumer spending.

Despite a multi-year low interest rate regime, the private sector credit grew just 4.4 percent in February from a year earlier, the slowest expansion since May 2010. That compared with a growth of 5.2 percent in January and 13.3 percent in February 2013. ($1 = 130.4000 Sri Lanka Rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)

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