COLOMBO, April 22 The Sri Lankan share index
ended at its highest level in more than 10 weeks on Tuesday, led
by blue chips amid strong interest from banks and financials
after the central bank said private sector credit growth would
rebound in the second quarter.
The main stock index gained for a fifth straight day
and ended 0.08 percent, or 4.80 points, firmer at 6,191.83, the
highest close since Feb. 3.
Expectation of private sector credit growth buoyed
sentiment, said a stockbroker.
Before the market opened, the central bank kept policy rates
steady at multi-year lows, as expected, and expressed confidence
that private sector credit growth would rebound in the second
quarter and push up the pace of economic expansion.
The day's turnover was 547.2 million rupees ($4.19 million),
less than this year's daily average of 967.8 million rupees.
The bourse saw net foreign inflows for a ninth straight
session. Offshore investors bought 179.3 million rupees worth of
stocks, though they have sold a net 7.7 billion rupees of shares
so far this year.
Hatton National Bank, the island nation's
second-largest private lender by market capitalisation, and
National Development Bank gained 1.29 percent and 1.4
Stockbrokers expect the nation's $19.85 billion bourse to
gain in the short term due to prevailing lower interest rates.
Analysts, however, 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 = 130.6200 Sri Lanka Rupees)
(Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal; Editing by