July 30, 2015 / 6:20 AM / 3 years ago

Sri Lankan shares hit 5-1/2 month high; rupee steady

COLOMBO, July 30 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares rose to a five-and-a-half month high on Thursday as investors bought risky assets on expectations of strong corporate earnings, while hopes for political stability after parliamentary elections next month also aided sentiment.

The main stock index was up 0.14 percent after rising as much as 0.3 percent to 7,339.55, its highest since Feb. 16, earlier in the session. Turnover stood at 1.07 billion rupees ($8.01 million) in early trade on Thursday.

Analysts expect local companies to post strong results for the April-June quarter.

The ruling United National Party has formed a coalition with some other parties to contest the Aug. 17 elections. Political analysts see the new coalition could increase the ruling party’s chances of winning the election.

The Sri Lankan rupee was steady in dull trade ahead of a long weekend, as a state-owned bank maintained its dollar-selling rate at 133.60, dealers said.

“Not much of trading is taking place ahead of the long weekend and the rupee is trading steady due to state bank (dollar) sales,” a currency dealer said.

Markets will be closed on Friday for a special Buddhist religious holiday. ($1 = 133.6000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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