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Sri Lankan stocks post 3-month closing high in high turnover

COLOMBO, Aug 23 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended marginally higher on Tuesday and posted their highest close in three months led by financials, while turnover hit a 4-1/2-month high on expectations of a better economic performance after the government said it would achieve its revenue target for this year.

Tax revenue in the first seven months jumped 23 percent to Rs769.8 billion from a year earlier, and Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake is optimistic about the full-year revenue target, his ministry said on Monday.

The benchmark Colombo stock index ended 0.14 percent, or 9.17 points, firmer at 6,603.76, its highest close since May 20.

"Today, it was mostly retail-driven, but the market has slowed down in the last few days with month-end settlements," said Reshan Kurukulasuriya, chief operating officer of Richard Pieris Securities (Pvt) Ltd.

Turnover stood at Rs1.81 billion ($12.45 million), its highest since April 1, and well above this year’s daily average of around Rs750.1 million.

Foreign investors sold a net Rs402.4 million worth of shares, the highest outflow since May 27, extending the outflow so far this year to Rs3.62 billion worth of shares.

They are, however, net buyers of Rs1.03 billion worth of equities so far this month.

Shares of Ceylinco Insurance Plc rose 0.81 percent, while Asiri Hospital Holdings Plc gained 3.55 percent and Cargills (Ceylon) Plc added 0.11 percent.

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