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Sri Lankan stocks recover as investors buy select blue chips

ATCHUTHAN SRIRANGAN, SENIOR RESEARCH ANALYST AT FIRST CAPITAL HOLDINGS PLC, SPEAKS TO REUTERS

FEBRUARY 19, 2018

COLOMBO, March 16 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares rose marginally on Friday, recovering from a one-and-a-half-month closing low hit in the previous session, as investors bought select blue chips in low volumes while lower economic growth weighed on the market.

The statistics department said after markets hours on Thursday that the economy grew at 3.1 percent in 2017 and 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

The Colombo stock index rose 0.13 percent to 6,509.46, snapping two consecutive sessions of declines, and edging up from its lowest close since Feb. 1 hit on Thursday.

It dropped 0.6 percent this week in its third straight weekly decline.

“Market is up in low-volume trades in some blue chips,” said Atchuthan Srirangan, a senior research analyst with First Capital Holdings PLC, adding that investors were worried about the lower economic growth in 2017.

Turnover was 824.6 million rupees ($5.29 million), lower than this year’s daily average of around 966.8 million rupees.

Shares in conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc rose 0.9 percent, Carson Cumberbatch Plc gained 5.3 percent, Trans Asia Hotels Plc jumped 6.9 percent and Hemas Holdings Plc edged up 1.6 percent.

Foreign investors bought a net 111.6 million rupees worth of shares, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to 7.1 billion rupees worth of equities.