May 022013

Sri Lankan shares hit a 16-month high yesterday on expectations of a rate cut at a central bank policy meeting later this month, traders said.

The main stock index ended up 0.32 percent, or 19.18 points, at 5,972.37, its highest close since Jan. 4, 2012.Shares have been rising on hopes of a fall in interest rates after Treasury Secretary P.B. Jayasundera and the central bank said official interest rates could ease in MayJune.The market has risen 3.4 percent through yesterday since the treasury secretary’s comments on April 9.

 The turnover was Rs.634.58 million ($5.01 million), well below this year’s daily average of Rs.963.9 million.

Foreign investors were net buyers of Rs.98.97 million of shares, extending the net foreign inflow so far this year to Rs.8.88 billion ($70.06 million). Last year, the bourse saw a net inflow of $303 million.

The rupee ended firmer at 126.10/20 per dollar from Tuesday’s close of 126.70/75 on exporter dollar sales, currency dealers said.

Both share and currency markets were close for a holiday on Wednesday in lieu of International Labour day.

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