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Stock market shares end higher; foreigners sell

Stock market shares end higher; foreigners sell

Reuters: Sri Lankan shares ended slightly firmer yesterday led by blue-chip stocks in thin trade, while foreign selling boosted turnover with most local investors on leave ahead of the Sinhala-Tamil New Year this week, brokers said.

Foreign selling accounted for 80% of the day’s turnover of Rs. 553 million ($3.55 million), less than half of this year’s daily average of Rs. 1.17 billion.

Foreign investors exited mainly by selling Softlogic Finance PLC, brokers said. Shares in Softlogic Finance, which accounted for 60% of the day’s turnover, however, ended 0.6% lower.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.18% higher at 6,451.17.

Foreign investors sold shares worth net Rs. 420.8 million yesterday, extending the net foreign outflow to Rs. 1.25 billion from equities.

“It was a very dull day as most local investors are on leave,” said First Capital Holdings Assistant Research Manager Atchuthan Srirangan.

Market sentiment improved after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe survived a no-confidence motion last week, dealers said.

Top fixed-phone line operator Sri Lanka Telecom closed 6.3% higher, while Hatton National Bank ended up 1.8%.

Dealers expect the stock market to be tepid this week ahead of the Sinhala-Tamil New Year on 14 April.

The central bank unexpectedly cut its key lending rate by 25 basis points yesterday, as policy makers sought to revitalise an economy growing at its weakest pace in 16 years and facing heightened political uncertainty.

The index fell 0.33% last week and dropped 1.14% in March.

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