December 2, 2016 / 11:35 AM / a year ago

Sri Lanka shares end at 2-wk high; banks lead

COLOMBO, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares rose for a second straight session on Friday to close at a two-week high as investors sought bargains in large-cap shares after the benchmark index hit a near-eight-month low earlier in the week.

The Colombo stock index gained 0.26 percent to 6,325.57, its highest close since Nov. 18. The bourse gained 1.17 percent for the week, recording its first weekly gain in four.

Turnover stood at 947.9 million rupees ($6.40 million), more than this year’s daily average of 697.9 million rupees.

“Buying interest continues as prices are attractive after they fell steeply,” said Reshan Kurukulasuriya, chief operating officer, Richard Pieris Securities (Pvt) Ltd.

Foreign investors sold a net 250.3 million rupees worth of shares on Friday, extending the year-to-date fund outflow to 1.84 billion rupees.

The index had hit a near-eight-month low on Tuesday on concerns that the proposed hike in various taxes and fees would reduce disposable income and challenge consumption-led growth.

The government aims to boost its 2017 tax revenue by 27 percent to 1.82 trillion rupees year-on-year and meet a commitment given to the International Monetary Fund in return for a $1.5 billion loan in May.

The market shrugged off the central bank’s monetary policy decision on Tuesday to keep rates unchanged. Brokers said investors are concerned about sustainability of rates.

Shares of Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc rose 1.60 percent while conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc rose 0.67 percent and biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc rose 0.14 percent. ($1 = 148.0000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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