Sri Lankan shares end higher as industrials, financials gain

Sri Lankan shares ended up over 1% on Friday at a record high, boosted by gains in industrial and financial stocks, marking their best week since early October.

* The CSE All-Share index (.CSE) closed up 1.56% at 11,197.68 points. For the week, the index rose 5.1%, its best week since the week ending Oct.1.

* On Thursday, Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) left the standing deposit facility rate and the standing lending facility rate unchanged at 5.00% and 6.00%, respectively, as expected.

* Gains in Sri Lankan shares come even as broader markets tumble on concerns over a new possibly vaccine-resistant coronavirus variant.

* Little is known of the variant, detected in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong, but scientists say it has an unusual combination of mutations, may be able to evade immune responses and could be more transmissible.

* Conglomerate Expolanka Holdings (EXPO.CM) and Lanka ORIX Leasing Company Plc (LOLC.CM) were the top boosts, rising 5.2% and 10.16%, respectively.

* The equity market's turnover was 9.15 billion Sri Lankan rupees ($45.30 million) according to stock exchange data.

* Trading volume on the exchange fell to 335.1 million shares from 459.28 million shares in the previous session.

* Foreign investors were net sellers in the equity market, offloading shares worth about 392.5 million rupees, as per exchange data.

* The island nation reported 740 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 560,345, data from the country's health bureau showed.

* The total death toll was at 14,232, according to the data.

* About 62.94% of the country's population is fully vaccinated so far, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

* For a report on global markets, click

($1 = 202.0000 Sri Lankan rupees)

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