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Sri Lankan stocks close steady; foreign buying boosts turnover

COLOMBO, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended steady on Friday, with falls in hotels and travel companies offsetting gains in diversified holdings and healthcare stocks, while foreign buying helped boost turnover.

The benchmark Colombo stock index ended 0.02 percent weaker at 6,539.09 and posted its second straight weekly loss of 0.2 percent.

Foreign investors, who have been net sellers of shares to the tune of Rs2.98 billion ($20.48 million) so far this year, bought a net Rs612.9 million worth of shares.

Turnover stood at Rs1.47 billion ($4.05 million), the highest since August 23 and well above this year’s daily average of Rs758.8 million.

"The market held on with a little bit of profit-taking. But there was very little selling; block deals boosted turnover," said Dimantha Mathew, head of research at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

Shares of Kandy Hotels Company (1938) Plc rose as much as 11.5 percent to their highest since September 2015 before closing 7.69 percent higher, and accounted for 39.66 percent of the total turnover.

Ceylon Cold Stores Plc fell 3.38 percent, while Trans Asia Hotel Plc dropped 6.89 percent.

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