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Sri Lankan shares hit 4-wk closing high; large caps lead

COLOMBO, Feb 15 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares hit a four-week closing high on Wednesday, rising for a third straight session, as investors picked up large cap shares such as Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc, brokers said.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.43 percent firmer at 6,175.50, its highest close since January 18.

"The market continued its uptrend as prices are still cheap and attractive for investors, and the news such as Fitch are positive for investors," said Reshan Kurukulasuriya, chief operating officer of Richard Pieris Securities (Pvt) Ltd.

Last week, Fitch Ratings affirmed Sri Lanka’s Long-Term Foreign- and Local Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at ‘B+’, and revised the outlook to ‘stable’ from ‘negative’.

Shares of Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc jumped 2.89 percent, while Ceylinco Insurance Plc rose 5.97 percent.

Turnover stood at Rs876.3 million ($5.83 million), more than this year’s daily average of Rs631.4 million.

Foreign investors net bought Rs22.3 million worth of equities on Wednesday. They have net sold Rs290.7 million worth of shares so far this year.

Sri Lankan stocks have been hit by political uncertainty after ruling coalition parties decided to contest local polls separately, and on worries over a rise in interest rates.

Yields on treasury bills rose 5-8 basis points at a weekly auction on Wednesday and are hovering at a more than four-year high.






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