September 18, 2017 / 11:20 AM / a year ago

Sri Lankan shares hit 3-week closing high as blue chips gain

COLOMBO, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares rose for a third straight session on Monday and ended at a three-week closing high as investors picked up diversified and telecom shares, brokers said.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.12 percent firmer at 6,409.65, its highest close since Aug.28.

The bourse rose 0.4 percent last week, ending an eight-week long losing streak.

"We are yet to see the bullish trend, but it is slowly coming into the market with some foreign buying," said Dimantha Mathew, head of research, First Capital Holdings.

"The Locals are a bit more conservative and are looking at only blue chips yet."

Shares of conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc gain 1.2 percent while Sri Lanka Telecom Plc ended 4.6 percent firmer, Melstacorp Ltd rose 1.7 percent and Dialog Axiata Plc ended 0.9 percent higher.

Foreign investors net bought 97.7 billion rupees worth of shares on Monday, extending the year-to-date net foreign inflow to 17 billion rupees worth of equities.

Turnover stood at 459.2 million rupees, half of this year's daily average of around 918.3 million rupees.

According to traders, recent block deals also helped boost the market sentiment.

On Wednesday after market hours, diversified conglomerate Hayleys Plc said it had agreed to purchase 61.73 percent of Singer Sri Lanka Plc for 10.9 billion rupees from Retail Holdings (Sri Lanka) BV a subsidiary of Retail Holdings NV.

Hayleys in a corporate disclosure said on Friday that Hayleys Plc and its subsidiaries purchased 231.9 million shares or 61.73 percent of Singer Sri Lanka Plc at a price of 47 rupees per share.

Last week, top mobile phone operator Dialog Axiata Plc said that it acquired 80.34 percent of Colombo Trust Finance Plc for 1.072 billion rupees ($7 million). ($1 = 152.9500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

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