February 1, 2018 / 12:02 PM / 8 months ago

Sri Lanka shares climb to highest close in three weeks

COLOMBO, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares rose for a second straight session on Thursday to their highest close in more than three weeks as foreign buying boosted sentiment, brokers said.

The Colombo stock index ended up 0.34 percent at 6,498.45, its highest close since Jan. 10.

“The positive sentiment is continuing. Both local retailers and foreigners were active today and we expect the momentum to continue,” said Hussain Gani, Deputy CEO at Softlogic Stockbrokers.

Shares in Sri Lanka Telecom Plc closed 3.9 percent higher, while Carson Cumberbatch Plc rose 8.2 percent.

Janashakthi Insurance Company Plc jumped 8 percent, building on a steep 24 percent gain over the last two sessions.

Janashakthi Insurance Plc said on Thursday its board authorised a sale of all of the shares it held in its wholly owned subsidiary, Janashakthi General Insurance Ltd.

The market turnover was 902.7 million rupees ($5.86 million), less than last year’s daily average of 915.3 million rupees.

Foreign investors bought a net 243.7 million rupees worth of shares on Thursday, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to 4.3 billion rupees worth of equities.

Analysts said the political uncertainty ahead of a local election next month weighed on sentiment. Sri Lanka will hold a long-delayed local government election on Feb. 10.

President Maithripala Sirisena in an election rally over the weekend said he was ready to form a new government with his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), breaking away from the current coalition - a comment that exacerbated worries about the future of the coalition government. ($1 = 154.1500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)

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