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Sri Lanka bourse edges up ahead of polls; rupee slips

[Reuters, Tuesday, 26 January 2010 09:05 No Comment]

Sri Lankan shares .CSE gained 0.64 percent on Monday led by local buying with volatility a day before the presidential poll, dealers said.

The All-Share Price Index .CSE of the Colombo Stock Exchange closed 22.72 points firmer at 3,554.45 points. It hit a record high of 3586.68 on Monday.

"The market is up. There was substantial local buying. They were taking positions before the election," said Prasanna Chandrasekera, associate director at Asia Securities in Colombo.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is facing a stiff challenge from his former army chief, General Sarath Fonseka, who oversaw the defeat of the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, at the Jan. 26 presidential poll. Analysts expect a close finish.

For Sri Lanka’s political risks, see [ID:nSGE5BE023]

The day’s turnover was 1.5 million rupees ($13.12 million), more than twice of 2009 daily average of 593.6 million rupees.

The rise was led by the diversified holdings sector .CSEDV due to 2.43 percent gain in Carson Cumberbat CARS.CM.

Shares in conglomerate John Keells Holdings JKH.CM after the market closed posted a 49 percent rise in net profit in quarter ended December 31 [ID:nCMB000035]

Shares in John Keells closed 0.43 percent weaker at 173 rupees a share.

The bourse has risen 4.99 percent so far this year after being one of the world’s best-performing markets in 2009, jumping 125.2 percent on post-war optimism.

The Sri Lankan rupee LKR= closed weaker at 114.47/52 with compared to Friday’s close of 114.35/40 per dollar as importers bought dollars.

"The rupee closed weaker on heavy importer demand for dollars," a dealer said.

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