Sri Lanka raised $2 billion via five-year and 10-year sovereign bond sales last month, tapping global capital markets for the second time in three months. Photo: Kuni Takahashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Shares gained for the fifth straight session on Monday (15) to hit a nearly three-month closing high, as foreign fund inflows hit a more than seven-year high due to a block deal, while the rupee ended marginally lower.

Foreign inflows hit their highest in more than seven years, after Singapore-registered LOLC Ltd. bought shares of LOLC Finance PLC, accounting for 90 per cent of the day’s turnover. Shares in LOLC Finance PLC, however, ended 2.63 per cent down.

In a disclosure to the bourse, LOLC Holdings PLC said its subsidiary registered in Singapore LOLC Ltd. bought 62.26 per cent of LOLC Finance PLC shares held by LOLC Holdings PLC, amounting to Rs 8.89 billion, to facilitate internal restructuring of the holding of LOLC Finance PLC.

Foreign investors bought a net Rs 8.71bn ($49.60 million) worth of shares on Monday, reversing the year-to-date net foreign trade to net inflow of Rs. 1.43bn, index data showed.

The benchmark stock index gained 0.31 per cent to 5,587.36, its highest close since 18 April.

The index rose one per cent last week, its third consecutive weekly gain. So far this year, the index is down about eight per cent.

The Central Bank left key interest rates unchanged on Thursday as expected, after cutting them in May to support the economy as tourism and investment plummeted in the wake of deadly suicide bombings in April.

Shares in Dialog Axiata PLC jumped 3.06 per cent on Monday, Hemas Holdings PLC ended 4.57 per cent firmer and LOLC Holdings PLC closed up 1.27 per cent.

Stock market turnover was Rs 9.35bn ($53.25m), its highest since 28 March 2018 and well above this year’s daily average of about Rs 609.6m.

Last year’s daily average came in at Rs 834m.

The currency closed a tad weaker at 175.65/75 per dollar, compared with Friday’s close of 175.45/55, as importer demand for the greenback surpassed dollar selling by banks. The rupee rose 0.37 per cent last week, and is up 3.96 per cent so far this year.

The rupee dropped 16 per cent in 2018 and was one of the worst-performing currencies in Asia.

The island nation raised $2bn via five-year and 10-year sovereign bond sales last month, tapping global capital markets for the second time in three months.

Foreign investors bought a net Rs 2.68bn worth of government securities in the week ended 10 July, but the market has seen a year-to-date net foreign outflow to Rs 19.73bn, the Central Bank data showed.

Reuters