October 26, 2017 / 11:44 AM / a month ago

Sri Lankan shares hit near 3-month closing high; banks lead

COLOMBO, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares touched a near three-month closing high on Thursday as investors picked up bank and diversified shares, brokers said.

The Colombo stock index finished 0.28 percent firmer at 6,633.20, its highest close since July 31.

Shares of the biggest listed lender, Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, rose 1.8 percent while Hemas Holdings Plc ended 2.4 percent higher. Sampath Bank Plc climbed 2.3 percent while conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc gained 0.7 percent.

“Market is up on foreign blue chip buying. Foreigners are active again and block deals pushed the turnover levels,” said Atchuthan Srirangan, senior research analyst, First Capital Holdings PLC.

“Retail investors are still awaiting corporate results and budget, but foreign investors are active.”

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera will present the 2018 budget on Nov. 9.

Turnover stood at 1.2 billion rupees ($7.8 million), more than this year’s daily average of 938.3 million rupees.

Foreign investors net bought shares worth 36.1 million rupees on Thursday, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to 19.7 billion rupees worth equities. ($1 = 153.4500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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