Sri Lankan shares rise on Keells; turnover slumps

COLOMBO, June 18 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares edged up on Thursday for a second straight session, helped by market heavyweight John Keells Holdings, but turnover slumped to a more than one-week low as investors turned cautious ahead of a parliamentary election.

The main stock index ended 0.2 percent or 14.44 points higher at 7,064.15, further recovering from a two-month low hit on Tuesday.

Turnover stood at 566 million rupees ($4.22 million), its lowest since June 10 and half of this year’s daily average of about 1.11 billion rupees.

"Market is up on Keells on very low volumes. There was lack of selling pressure that was seen in the last few days," said Dimantha Mathew, research manager at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd. "We don’t expect any significant movement to happen until the elections are announced."

Investors were confused due to lack of direction on interest rates, economic policies, and on when the parliamentary elections would be held, analysts said.

President Maithripala Sirisena’s government has said it would dissolve parliament once some crucial reforms, including an electoral bill, are passed, but has yet to fix a date for the election.

Shares in conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc ended 1.64 percent firmer in low volumes, helping the overall index end higher.

Nestle Lanka Plc rose 1.49 percent, while Sri Lanka Telecom Plc closed 1.1 percent higher.

The market saw net foreign inflow of 1.3 million rupees on Thursday, but it has suffered net foreign outflow of 3.32 billion rupees in the past 17 sessions. The bourse, however, has seen net inflows of 2.62 billion rupees into equities so far in 2015.





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