April 28, 2014 / 11:57 AM / in 4 years

Sri Lankan shares edge up on diversified companies

COLOMBO, April 28 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares ended a tad firmer in dull trade on Monday, led by diversified companies like Vallibel One, after the nation’s parliament approved three mega mixed development projects last week.

But the government’s refusal to allow casinos at these projects hurt the momentum, dealers said.

The country’s main stock index edged up 0.07 percent, or 4.13 points, to 6,171.94.

The Sri Lankan parliament on Friday approved two projects for luxury resorts, worth up to $1250 million, by John Keells Holdings PLC, that will include hotels and shopping malls, and by Australian gaming tycoon James Packer’s Crown Ltd.

Shares in Keells rose 0.04 percent to 235.00 rupees. Vallibel One, which rose 2.25 percent to 18.20 rupees, got parliamentary approval on Thursday to invest $300 million in an integrated luxury tourist resort in the island nation’s proposed exclusive gaming zone.

The market has gained 3.41 percent so far this month as some retail investors started buying risky assets in the face of low interest rates.

Lower interest rates have helped the market gain in the past few weeks, stockbrokers said.

The benchmark 91-day treasury bill yield dropped to its lowest since January 2007 on Wednesday, data showed, a day after the central bank kept policy rates steady at multi-year lows.

The day’s turnover was 423.8 million rupees ($3.24 million), well below this year’s daily average of 957.9 million rupees.

Offshore investors were net buyers of 52.2 million rupees worth of stocks on Monday in dull foreign activity. But they have been net sellers of 7.19 billion rupees so far this year. ($1 = 130.6150 Sri Lanka Rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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