Sri Lanka's main stock index closed marginally higher on Thursday, helped by gains in consumer staple companies, after the central bank kept its key interest rates unchanged.
** The CSE All Share index ended 0.1% higher at 6,148.12.
** The Central Bank of Sri Lanka said it would introduce lending targets for certain sectors "in the near future", as it stressed upon the need for lower lending rates to boost economic growth.
** The island nation on Wednesday reported its manufacturing activity indicated subdued performance in October due to an adverse impact from the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
** While growth indicators have improved in the third quarter, the recovery is likely to stall in the fourth quarter on localised lockdowns due to a second wave of virus infections, Standard Chartered said in a research note.
** Standard Chartered expects a 50 basis point rate cut in the first half of 2021.
** Meanwhile, conglomerate Carson Cumberbatch was the top boost to the benchmark, rising 3.88%.
** Trading volume on the main index fell to 69.1 million from 88.4 million in the previous session.
** Foreign investors were net sellers, offloading 95 million Sri Lankan rupees ($513,791.24) worth of shares, according to exchange data.
** Equity market turnover was 1.98 billion Sri Lankan rupees, data showed.
** The Sri Lankan rupee was last quoted at 184.90 against the U.S. dollar.
($1 = 184.9000 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta) ((Sethuraman.NR@thomsonreuters.com; (+91 8061822737); Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org))