September 2, 2016 / 12:10 PM / 3 years ago

Sri Lankan stocks close steady; foreign buying boosts turnover

COLOMBO, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares ended steady on Friday, with falls in hotels and travel companies offsetting gains in diversified holdings and health care stocks, while foreign buying helped boost turnover.

The benchmark Colombo stock index ended 0.02 percent weaker at 6,539.09 and posted its second straight weekly loss, of 0.2 percent.

Foreign investors, who have been net sellers of shares to the tune of 2.98 billion rupees ($20.48 million) so far this year, bought a net 612.9 million rupees worth of shares.

Turnover stood at 1.47 billion rupees ($4.05 million), the highest since Aug. 23 and well above this year’s daily average of 758.8 million rupees.

“The market held on with little bit of profit-taking. But there was very little selling, block deals boosted turnover,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

Shares of Kandy Hotels Company (1938) Plc rose as much as 11.5 percent to their highest since September 2015 before closing 7.69 percent higher, and accounted for 39.66 percent of the total turnover.

Ceylon Cold Stores Plc fell 3.38 percent, while Trans Asia Hotel Plc dropped 6.89 percent. ($1 = 145.5000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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