Foreign buying, Rs. 4 b turnover boost stock market

Friday, 14 November 2014 01:23 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: Stocks rose to hover around a 3-1/2-year high on Thursday as investors picked up construction and banking shares on hopes of growth in the sectors, while foreign buying pushed the turnover to a six-week high. Analysts said low interest rates and better earnings expectations kept investor appetite for risky assets intact. Sri Lanka’s main stock index edged up 0.14% to 7,479.69, its highest closing level since 19 May 2011. “There was lot of retail interest seen across the board after some time. We expect a psychological barrier around 7,500 levels especially on the big-cap shares,” said Dimantha Mathew, Manager, Research, at First Capital Equities Ltd. Thursday’s turnover was Rs. 4.08 billion, well above this year’s daily average of Rs. 1.42 billion with foreign investors buying a net Rs. 1.11 billion ($ 8.48 million) worth of shares. The Bourse has witnessed a foreign inflow of Rs. 17.86 billion so far this year, exchange data showed. Shares in Access Engineering Plc, which led the overall gain, rose 5.98% to Rs. 39 while People’s Leasing and Finance Plc rose 2.08% to Rs. 24.50. Traders said hopes over a boost in vehicle leasing business for People’s Leasing and Finance Plc and Access Engineering being awarded a multi-million dollar contract for a new highway helped boost their share prices. Analysts expect trading to be choppy in the near term due to the revised presidential poll schedule in January and a possible bottoming out of interest rates. The country’s Central Bank has kept key policy rates steady for a ninth straight month, saying private sector credit growth was picking up and long-term lending rates were adjusting downwards.