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* Sri Lankan shares firm up on large caps; lower rates boost sentiment
Tue, Jan 2, 2018, 07:51 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 02 (Reuters) COLOMBO- Sri Lankan shares rose for a seventh straight session to hit a near five-week closing high on Tuesday as investors picked up large caps, with sentiment expected to remain positive after the central bank kept key policy rates unchanged last week.

The Colombo Stock Index ended 0.66 percent firmer at 6,411.27, its highest since Nov. 30.

Turnover stood at 194.6 million rupees ($1.27 million), less than last year's daily average of 915.3 million rupees.

"It was a typical first day of the new year with the volumes low. But the market is positive after the central bank kept the rates lower and the market rates are coming down," said Hussain Gani, deputy CEO at Softlogic Stockbrokers.

The bourse rose 2.26 percent in 2017, posting the first annual increase in three years, after falling 9.7 percent in 2016.

Shares in Ceylon Tobacco Company Plc rose 5.5 percent, while Dialog Axiata Plc ended 3.1 percent firmer.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc gained 1.01 percent, while the biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc closed up 1.6 percent.

Foreign investors net bought shares worth 102.8 million rupees on Tuesday. Foreign investors net bought 18.5 billion rupees worth equities in 2017, and 633.5 million rupees worth of stocks in 2016.

The $81 billion economy grew at an annual pace of 3.7 percent in the first nine months of 2017, which followed its most severe drought in 40 years in the first quarter and the worst flooding in 14 years in May.

Read More:: Reuters (Source)