September 20, 2017 / 11:53 AM / a year ago

Sri Lankan shares hit over 5-wk closing high on foreign buying

COLOMBO, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares gained for a fifth straight session on Wednesday to hit a more than five-week closing high as foreign investors bought into blue-chips, boosting sentiment.

Foreign investors bought a net 556.6 million rupees ($3.64 million) worth of shares, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to 17.7 billion rupees.

The Colombo stock index ended up 0.39 percent at 6,452.91, its highest close since Aug. 14.

“We have seen major transactions in blue chips which drive the market these days,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Holdings.

“Foreigners are active and they are taking positions while the locals are a bit silent. But we can see them also slowly returning to market with high foreign activities.”

Shares of Dialog Axiata Plc rose 4.3 percent, while the biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc ended 2.9 percent firmer.

Melstacrop Ltd rose 3.4 percent, while conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc gained 0.2 percent.

Turnover stood at 1.6 billion rupees, well above this year’s daily average of around 926.2 million rupees. ($1 = 152.8000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)

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