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Sri Lankan stocks end steady near 3-month high

DIMANTHA MATHEW, HEAD OF RESEARCH AT FIRST CAPITAL HOLDINGS PLC, SPEAKS TO REUTERS

FEBRUARY 24, 2018 

COLOMBO, Feb 23 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended steady on Friday, near a more than three-month high hit early in the week, as investors picked up diversified shares.

Investor sentiment got a boost after two key parties decided to remain in the ruling coalition, allaying fears of a government collapse.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.06 percent firmer at 6,575.39, near its highest close since Nov. 6, 2017 hit on Wednesday. The index rose 0.18 percent during the week.

“We are seeing new buying coming into the market with the things settling down on the political front,” said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings.

“The profit-taking we saw yesterday did not continue and the buying was more than the selling which is a good sign.”

Turnover stood at 813.6 million rupees ($5.25 million), less than this year’s daily average of 867.9 million rupees.

Foreign investors sold a net 16.9 million rupees worth of shares, but they have been net buyers of 6.4 billion rupees worth of equities so far this year.

Shares in Melstacrop Plc rose 3.8 percent and conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc ended 0.6 percent higher. Dialog Axiata Plc gained 0.7 percent. ($1 = 155.1000 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Vyas Mohan)