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Sri Lankan shares close at near 7-month high

COLOMBO, Aug 12 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares closed at their highest in nearly seven months on Wednesday as hopes of improved corporate earnings and political stability after the Aug.17 parliamentary election boosted sentiment, brokers said.

Some foreign investors however sold shares ahead of the key election, they said.

The main stock index ended 0.17 percent or 12.98 points higher at 7,471.90, its highest close since Jan. 16.

The index has risen nearly 8 percent since July 8 through Wednesday.

Foreign investors sold a net 683.9 million rupees worth equities on Wednesday. They have offloaded a net 1.17 billion rupees worth of shares so far this year.

"Today, the… market started to slow down during the latter part of the day with some profit-taking," said Dimantha Mathew, a research manager at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd, adding dealers expected stock market activity to remain sluggish until the election.

Shares in Nestle Lanka Plc jumped 3.97 percent while Dialog Axiata Plc rose 2.59 percent.

Turnover stood at 2.12 billion rupees ($15.84 million) on Wednesday, more than double this year’s daily average of 1.13 billion rupees.

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