Sri Lankan shares rise on gains in blue chips, foreign buying

COLOMBO, Nov 3 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares closed Thursday at a near-two week high, helped by gains in blue chips and as foreign investors picked up beaten down stocks.

The benchmark index of the Colombo Stock Exchange ended 0.2 percent higher, or 13.05 points, at 6,442.09, its second straight session of gains.

Turnover stood at Rs217.7 million ($1.47 million), less than a third of this year’s daily average of Rs721.1 million.

Foreign investors were net buyers for a second straight session, picking up stocks worth Rs61.5 million. They have net sold Rs1.3 billion worth of shares so far this year.

"Suddenly, foreign buying has come into the market after the index fell to near 6,400. It’s like the psychological barrier of 6,400 levels has worked," said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

Shares in Nestle Lanka Plc jumped 4.47 percent, while conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc gained 1.27 percent and the biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc rose 0.67 percent.

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