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Sri Lanka shares end at near 8-week high on stability hopes, earnings

COLOMBO, July 23 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares closed at their highest level in about eight weeks on Thursday on strong foreign inflows for a second session as hopes of political stability after Aug. 17 parliamentary polls and better earnings lifted sentiment, brokers said.

The main stock index ended 0.18 percent, or 12.99 points up at 7,212.62, its highest since May 29.

Turnover was at 2.21 billion rupees ($16.5 million), boosted by foreign buying. This was the highest turnover since July 3 and more than double of this year’s daily average of 1.06 billion rupees.

Foreign investors were net buyers of 930.7 million rupees on Thursday, but they have been net sellers of 478.4 million rupees worth of shares so far this year.

"Investors are buying because they are confident of getting a stable government after the elections," Danushka Samarasinghe, research head at Softlogic Stockbrokers said.

Samarasinghe expects Sri Lankan companies to post strong results this quarter.

Analysts also said hopes over political stability after Aug. 17 parliament election also helped sentiment. They expect next month’s election to help strengthen President Maithripala Sirisena’s political position.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc rose 0.64 percent, while Hemas Holdings Plc rose 4.12 percent, pushing the overall index up.

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