COLOMBO, July 4 Sri Lankan stocks hit their
highest closing level in more than 13 months on Friday, led by
market heavyweight John Keells Holdings PLC despite
foreigners selling risky assets.
Foreign investors were net sellers for the first time in
nine sessions, offloading 104.7 million rupees ($804,000) worth
of shares on Friday, but are net buyers of 9.09 billion rupees
so far this year.
The main stock index ended 0.16 percent, or 10.23
points, firmer at 6,477.51, its highest close since May 23,
Analysts said local investors were active, while the
independence day holiday in the United States dented foreign
participation in the market.
"We have seen local investors who were on the sidelines
coming back. It's a good signal for the market," said a
stockbroker asking not to be named.
Turnover was 1.38 billion rupees ($10.60 million), more than
this year's daily average of around 1.05 billion rupees.
John Keells shares rose 0.94 percent to 225 rupees, while
Sri Lanka Telecom PLC rose 1.85 percent to 49.60
Brokers said investors are bullish about the market after
they witnessed large state funds actively traded shares on
Analysts said foreigners have been buying risky assets
because they see values in them, while falling yield in fixed
assets is gradually prompting local investors to shift their
funds to equities.
They say foreign buying could continue due to lower
inflation after government data showed annual inflation eased to
2.8 percent in June, its lowest since February 2012, down from
3.2 percent a month earlier.
Yields on treasury bills edged down further at a weekly
auction on Wednesday.
However, analysts said investors are concerned over the
recent ethnic violence and possible implications of a government
spokesman saying Sri Lanka bought Iranian crude via third
The market has been on a rising trend since late February
due to continued foreign buying and lower interest rates.
($1 = 130.2200 Sri Lankan Rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by