Sri Lankan shares end at over 3-week closing high in thin trade

COLOMBO, July 15 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended higher on Friday at a more than three-week closing high, with heavyweights such as Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc and John Keells Holdings Plc helping the index gain.

Sentiment was also boosted after Sri Lanka raised $1.5 billion in its first sale of dual-tranche eurobonds earlier this week, as over $5.5 billion in offers for the issue showed global investors were bullish about the prospects of the $82 billion economy.

After the bond deal, yields in local T-bill auction fell along with the 364-day T-bill rates at Wednesday’s auction for the first time since April 15.

The benchmark Colombo stock index in a thin-volume trading session ended up 0.32 percent or 20.79 points at 6,422.69, its highest since June 21. It gained 0.9 percent this week.

"Today, the market is up mainly due to domestic investors. In the past few days, the market went up with foreign buying after the sovereign bond was oversubscribed, but now the foreigners are on the sideline," said Yohan Samarakkody, head of research, SC Securities (Pvt) Ltd.

"Now investors are getting in to a side and seeing the direction and awaiting to see government policy statement."

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is expected to announce the country’s economic policies in August, new central bank chief, Indrajith Coomaraswamy said last week.

Turnover stood at 555.9 million rupees ($3.82 million), less than this year’s daily average of around 741.2 million rupees.

Overseas investors, who were net sellers of shares worth 5.05 billion rupees so far this year, were net buyers of equities worth 24.7 million rupees on Friday.

Shares in Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc rose as much as 0.82 percent while Commercial Leasing and Finance Plc climbed as much as 5.26 percent and conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc gained as much as 2 percent.





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