Sri Lankan shares edge up on buying in Keells

COLOMBO, June 23 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares rose for a second straight session on Tuesday to a near one-week high, led by market heavyweight John Keells Holdings Plc, but trading was moderate due to political uncertainty ahead of the announcement of parliamentary polls.

The main stock index ended up 0.2 percent, or 14.31 points, at 7,053.96, its highest close since June 18.

Turnover stood at 810.5 million rupees ($6 million), below this year’s daily average of about 1.1 billion rupees.

"Suddenly there was buying interest in Keells, helping the index to move up," said Dimantha Mathew, research manager at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

Shares in conglomerate John Keells closed up 3.65 percent.

"Not much of a movement otherwise, they (investors) are waiting for direction. They are waiting for elections."

The market saw net foreign inflows of 73.3 million rupees on Tuesday, but foreigners have been net sellers of 3.4 billion rupees in stocks over the past 20 sessions.

The bourse has seen net inflows of 2.54 billion rupees into equities so far in 2015.

Investors were confused due to a lack of direction on interest rates, economic policies, and on the timing of the parliamentary election, analysts said.

President Maithripala Sirisena’s government has said he would dissolve the parliament once some crucial reforms, including an electoral bill, are passed, but is yet to fix a date for the election.





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