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Sri Lankan shares rise for third day ahead of budget

COLOMBO, Nov 19 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares rose for a third straight session on Thursday, led by blue-chips in thin volume as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of Friday’s budget.

The main stock index ended 0.55 percent, or 38.21 points, firmer at 7,020.18, its highest close since Nov. 9.

"Everybody is waiting to see the proper direction more than the taxes. It’s not about taxing, but how they tax," said a stockbroker asking not to be named.

Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake will seek to boost tax revenues and rationalise spending in the new government’s first full-year budget on Friday, but analysts see him showing little commitment to fiscal consolidation.

Turnover was 552.5 million rupees ($3.89 million) on Thursday, about half of this year’s daily average of 1.1 billion rupees.

Market heavyweight John Keells Holdings Plc rose 0.82 percent, Ceylinco Insurance Plc gained 3.76 percent and Sri Lanka Telecom Plc added 0.42 percent.

Foreign investors were net sellers of 28.4 million rupees worth of shares on Thursday, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 3.6 billion rupees worth of equities. (Colombo/November 19 2015)

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