Reuters: Stocks gained on Friday, led by heavy foreign buying in market heavyweight John Keells Holdings, while local retailers bought speculative shares amid falling interest rates.
The Colombo Stock Exchange’s main index rose 0.65%, or 36.22 points, to close at 5,607.13, its highest since 19 October.
Foreign buying accounted for 68% of turnover and offshore investors bought a net Rs. 619.5 million worth of shares, extending net foreign buying this year to Rs. 38.52 billion.
Trading in John Keells Holdings, which gained 0.87% to Rs. 219.9, accounted for 67.6% of turnover.
“Foreigners bought Keells and we see some positive sentiment locally with retail investors buying some speculative shares after the recent fall in fixed deposit yields,” a stockbroker said on condition of anonymity. Treasury bill yields eased by between 21 and 49 basis points at a weekly auction on Monday in line with a surprise cut in interest rates earlier this month. The day’s turnover stood at Rs. 930.6 million ($ 7.33 million), compared to this year’s daily average of Rs. 886 million.
The rupee closed steady at 1270/10 to the dollar for a third session in dull trade, currency dealers said.