COLOMBO, April 20 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares hit a more than six-month closing high on Thursday as retail investors too joined a market rally led by heavy foreign buying over the last 20 sessions.
Foreign investors net bought 697.5 million rupees worth equities on Thursday, after buying a net 4.32 billion rupees ($28.42 million) worth of shares on Wednesday, the highest since May 9, 2014, exchange data showed.
Foreign investors have bought equities worth a net 10.42 billion in 20 straight sessions, taking the year-to-date net foreign inflow into equities to 12.9 billion rupees.
On Thursday, the Colombo stock index ended 0.9 percent firmer at 6,505.28, its highest close since Oct. 12.
The index has climbed 8.9 percent in the 15 sessions up to Thursday, having risen for 14 outs of 15 sessions so far.
“Foreigners are buying in large quantities and we saw some retail investors also buying stocks in a gradual manner,” said Hussain Gani, deputy CEO at Softlogic Stockbrokers.
“The bullish run will prevail if the central bank can maintain the interest rate at the current level.”
The central bank last month raised the key policy rates by 25 basis points.
Turnover stood at 1.44 billion rupees ($9.48 million), more than this year’s daily average of 863.7 million rupees.
Large cap Nestle Lanka PLC jumped 3.8 percent, while top mobile phone operator Dialog Axiata closed 3.5 percent firmer.
$1 = 151.9500 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath