EconomyNext – Sri Lankan stocks closed marginally higher Thursday buoyed by gains in financial firms in which there was interest, especially Commercial Credit & Finance (COCR) which rose almost eight percent with foreign buying, brokers said.
The benchmark All Share Price Index ended at 7,317.44, gaining 12.83 points (0.2 percent) while S&P SL 20 index, which tracks the top 20 largest and most liquid stocks, edged up 3.06 points (0.07 percent) to close at 4,122.28.
Turnover was 1.4 billion rupees with crossings or off-the-floor negotiated deals in John Keells Holdings, Hatton National Bank and Commercial Credit & Finance.
"Banking and finance sector counters like Hatton National Bank, National Development Bank, COCR and People’s Leasing Company gained investor interest during the day, making their way to the top turnover list," Bartleet Religare Equities said.
"Foreign investors aligned onto the selling side with a net foreign outflow of 326.36 million rupees."
Lanka Securities said trading was choppy reflecting investors’ reluctance to "make any significant moves" ahead of the impending election. During the past five sessions the market gained merely 11.27 points.
Commercial Credit & Finance, one of the most actively traded stocks, rose 7.8 percent to 50.00 rupees, at which price a foreign investor bought a million shares in a crossing.
Foreign investors turned net sellers Thursday after three consecutive days of net buying, selling mainly John Keells Holdings, Hatton National Bank and Chevron Lubricants.