Stock market at 15-week closing high; banks lead gains

Thursday, 28 April 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters:  Shares rose for a second straight session on Wednesday to hit a 15-week closing high, led by financial and diversified shares, a day after the Central Bank kept the key interest rates steady.

However, analysts said investors were cautious, ahead of an imminent loan deal with the International Monetary Fund.

The Central Bank kept benchmark rates steady, as expected, as it gauges the effect of the recent tightening amid final stages of talks with the IMF for a $1.5-billion loan to tide over a payments crisis.

The benchmark stock index ended up 0.45%, or 28.95 points, at 6,434.24, its highest close since 14 January.

“With the Central Bank holding rates steady and the news of finalising the IMF loan coming closer, investors turned positive,” said SC Securities Ltd Head of Research  Yohan Samarakkody.

A visiting IMF mission said it expected to complete negotiations with Sri Lanka for a three-year loan program in the next two weeks.

Sri Lanka is expected to reach a staff level agreement with the IMF for a loan as early as this week, the Central Bank deputy governor said on Tuesday.

Foreign investors were net sellers of Rs. 41.9 million ($288,309.36) worth of equities on Wednesday, extending the net foreign outflow so far this year to Rs. 2.99 billion.

Turnover stood at Rs. 591.1 million, less than this year’s daily average of around Rs. 770.6 million.

Shares in Ceylon Cold Stores Plc rose 5.42% while Carson Cumberbatch Plc  ended up 3.77% lower  and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc gained 0.76%.