Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sri Lanka stx jump 5.5 pct on bargain hunting; rupee firmer

* Bourse jumps up on bargain hunting

* Rupee strengthens in dull trade

 Feb 16 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's stock market surged 5.5 percent on Thursday as retail and foreign investors snapped up battered , while the rupee currency strengthened, dealers said.

The main share index jumped 5.61 percent during the day and closed 5.08 percent or 255.29 points firmer at 5,279.09.

"The market has been reflecting severe selling sentiment for the last nine days and got discounted highly. Eventually this induced some buying interest," said Kumuthini Sivathas, an analyst at Asha Phillip securities in Colombo.

The index shot up to the neutral territory on Thursday with the 14-day Relative Strength Index at 36.167, above the lower neutral range of 30, Reuters data showed. But it is the worst performer among Asian markets with a 13.09 percent loss so far this year.

Foreign investors were net buyers of 51 million Sri Lanka rupees ($427,000) on Thursday, extending the net foreign inflow to 1.16 billion rupees worth of shares so far this year, after net outflows of 19.1 billion last year.

The day's turnover was 1.16 billion rupees. Last year's average turnover was 2.3 billion. The day's volume was 87.1 million shares compared to last year's record daily average of 102.7 million.

The rupee closed at 118.85/119.10 to the dollar, compared with Wednesday's close of 119.30/60. It hit an all-time low of 120.90 on Wednesday, after the central bank stopped supporting a specific price level. ($1 = 119.4500 Sri Lanka rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal; Editing by Bryson Hull)

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