May 2, 2014 / 11:57 AM / 3 years ago

Sri Lankan shares hit over 3-month high; turnover up

2 Min Read

COLOMBO, May 2 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares rose to a more than three-month high on Friday in high turnover as investors bought large caps as sentiment was boosted by low interest rates.

A lower interest rate regime helped the market, with turnover hitting a three-week high, though foreign investors sold the island nation's risky assets.

The country's main stock index rose 0.4 percent, or 24.77 points, to 6,248.44, its highest close since Jan. 29.

The market gained 4.28 percent in April as some retail investors started buying risky assets in the face of low interest rates.

"Investors are positive over the low interest rates," said a stockbroker.

Lower interest rates have helped the market gain in the past few weeks and we have seen activity across the board, stockbrokers said.

Last week the central bank kept policy rates steady at multi-year lows.

The day's turnover was 1.31 billion rupees ($10.03 million), its highest since April 9 and more than this year's daily average of 961 million rupees.

Shares of Expolanka Holdings Plc rose 3.88 percent to 10.70 rupees, while Carson Cumberbatch Plc rose 8.03 percent to 405.10 rupees. Ceylon Tobacco Co advanced 0.98 percent to 1,110.00 rupees.

The Sri Lankan parliament on last week approved two projects for luxury resorts, worth up to $1,250 million, by John Keells, that will include hotels and shopping malls, and by Australian gaming tycoon James Packer's Crown Ltd.

Shares in Keells fell 0.42 percent to 237 rupees. Vallibel One, which ended 4.71 percent at 20.00 rupees, got parliamentary approval on April 24 to invest $300 million in an integrated luxury tourist resort in the island nation's proposed exclusive gaming zone.

Offshore investors were net sellers of 217 million rupees worth of stocks on Friday, extending the net foreign selling so far this year to 7.41 billion rupees. ($1 = 130.6400 Sri Lanka Rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal)

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