COLOMBO - Sri Lankan shares closed firmer on Wednesday, snapping six straight sessions of losses and recovering from a near two-week closing low in the previous session, as investors bought beaten-down stocks.
** The rupee ended slightly stronger as exporter dollar sales surpassed importer greenback demand.
** The benchmark stock index ended 0.73% higher at 5,889.68, edging up from its lowest close since July 25 hit on Tuesday. It gained 0.37% last week, its sixth straight weekly gain.
** So far this year, the index is down about 2.7%.
** Turnover was 461.1 million rupees ($2.60 million), less than this year's daily average of about 638.5 million rupees so far. Last year's daily average came in at 834 million rupees.
** Foreign investors sold a net 7.3 million rupees worth of shares on Wednesday, but they have been net buyers of 497.5 million rupees worth of equities so far this year, according to index data.
** Shares of Ceylon Cold Stores Plc jumped 7.1%, biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc rose 2.9%, Sri Lanka Telecom Plc closed up 3.6% and conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc ended 0.1% firmer.
** The rupee snapped a seven-session losing streak and closed at 177.40/55 per dollar, compared with Tuesday's close of 177.45/65.
** The rupee fell 0.73% in the seven sessions through Tuesday, but is up nearly 3% so far this year.
** The central bank left key interest rates unchanged on July 11 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.
** Foreign investors sold a net 5.11 billion rupees worth of government securities in the week ended July 31, extending the year-to-date net foreign outflow to 27.31 billion rupees, central bank data showed.
($1 = 177.2000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +94-11-232-5540; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com ; www.twitter.com/rangaba))