COLOMBO, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares rose on Wednesday after two straight sessions of decline, helped by gains in Ceylon Tobacco Co on foreign investor buying.
But turnover was low due to lower participation of local retail and institutional investors, dealers said.
The Colombo Stock index ended 0.35 percent firmer at 6,440.77.
Shares in Ceylon Tobacco Co rose 4.4 percent, while Sampath Bank Plc gained 2.4 percent.
“There is an election pending and local investors are waiting for some direction,” said Prashan Fernando, CEO at Acuity Stockbrokers.
Turnover was 453.2 million rupees ($2.95 million), with foreign buying accounting for around 66 percent of it. Last year’s daily average was 915.3 million rupees.
Foreign investors bought a net 29.4 million rupees worth of shares on Wednesday, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to 3.1 billion rupees worth equities.
Foreign investors bought equities worth 18.5 billion rupees last year, and 633.5 million rupees in 2016.
President Maithripala Sirisena said over the weekend that he would handle the economy from this year, taking over from the government’s main coalition partner, led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The comments have sparked uncertainty over the future of the coalition government, analysts said. ($1 = 153.7000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)