COLOMBO, April 21 The Sri Lankan share index hit
its highest closing level in more than 10 weeks on Monday, led
by blue chips ahead of the central bank's policy rates
announcement while retail investor interest also helped boost
The main stock index gained for a fourth straight day
and closed higher 0.1 percent, or 6.27 points, at 6,187.03, its
highest since Feb. 3.
"We saw some buying interest from retail investors after the
long holiday," said Prashan Fernando, chief executive officer of
Acuity Stockbrokers. "The market expects the central bank to
keep the interest rates unchanged."
The central bank is expected to keep its key policy rates
steady on Tuesday, a Reuters poll showed, in a sign it expects
private sector credit growth to recover after rates were slashed
to multi-year lows at the start of 2014.
With a lower interest rate regime, both Sri Lanka's central
bank and finance ministry have said private sector credit growth
will rise in the second half of this year.
Both currency and stock markets were closed for three days
last week due to public holidays.
The day's turnover was 814.5 million rupees ($6.24 million),
less than this year's daily average of 973.8 million rupees.
The bourse saw net foreign inflows for an eighth straight
session. Offshore investors bought 159.6 million rupees worth of
stocks, though they have sold a net 7.88 billion rupees of
shares so far this year.
Market heavyweight and top conglomerate John Keells Holdings
gained 0.42 percent at 239 rupees, while large cap
Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC rose 0.72 percent to
Analysts said foreign investors could shift from the island
nation's risky assets if Sri Lanka does not cooperate in an
international probe by the Office of the United Nations' High
Commissioner for Human Rights into the country's alleged war
crimes and human rights abuses.
Sri Lanka's foreign minister had said earlier this month
that the country would not cooperate with the inquiry.
($1 = 130.6100 Sri Lanka Rupees)
(Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal; Editing by