Sri Lankan shares end higher as investors pick large caps

COLOMBO, Jan 26 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan stocks recovered from a near-10-month low to end slightly firmer on Thursday as investors bought large-cap shares while concerns over political instability and the rally in interest rates weighed on market sentiment.

The Colombo stock index ended up 0.05 percent at 6,130.05. In the previous session, it hit 6,127.08, its lowest since April 4.

Market heavyweight John Keells Holdings Plc rose 0.29 percent, before it posted a 32 percent rise in its December quarter profit to 5.1 billion rupees.

"We expect good results in December quarter, but the results are unlikely to move the market because of the uncertainty factor," said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

Yields on treasury bills rose 2-5 basis points at a weekly auction on Wednesday to a near five-month high after the central bank governor signalled reduced intervention to defend the rupee.

Rising market interest rates, which move in tandem with T-bill yields, have been a cause for concern, brokers said.

Foreign investors net bought 106.8 million rupees ($711,051.93) worth of equities on Thursday, but they have been net sellers of 1.65 billion rupees worth shares so far this year.

The day’s turnover was 287.7 million rupees.

Investors are also concerned about possible political uncertainty as the main coalition partners in the government are contesting local polls separately, analysts said.

 

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