Shares end at 7-month high on stability hopes after polls

cseSri Lankan shares closed at their highest level in seven months in a truncated session on Monday on hopes that political stability after the Aug. 17 parliamentary elections would help boost investor sentiment, brokers said.

Sri Lankans went to the polls on Monday to elect a new parliament in what amounts to a referendum on ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s comeback bid, with the reformist alliance that swept him from power seeking a stronger mandate.

The trading time was reduced to half from the usual five hours due to the election.

The main stock index ended up 0.4 percent at 7,492.04, the highest close since Jan. 16.

The day’s turnover stood at 1.17 billion rupees ($8.74 million) on Monday, in line with this year’s daily average of 1.13 billion rupees.

Foreign investors were net buyers of a net 4.79 million rupees worth of equities on Monday. But they have offloaded a net 1.08 billion rupees worth of shares so far this year.

“Heavy retail interest was there. The whole market was dominated by retail investors on the hopes of strong earnings and a stable government after the elections,” said Dimantha Mathew, a research manager at First Capital Equities (Pvt) Ltd.

“We expect the market to be very positive after the elections.” Shares in Sri Lanka Telecom Plc jumped 3.59 percent, while Ceylon Theaters Plc rose 7.80 percent, pushing the index higher.(Reuters)


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