COLOMBO Jan 21 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares rose more than 1.4 percent on Thursday led by heavyweight stocks, recovering some ground from its lowest close in more than 20 months in the previous session.
The market had fallen for the four previous sessions as some investors sold their holdings to settle margin calls and others switched to treasury bills amid rising debt yields, brokers said.
The main stock index closed up 88.53 points at 6,349.71.
"It was push-up on large cap shares after margin calls," said Danushka Samarasinghe, research head at Softlogic Stockbrokers in Colombo. "(But) I don't think this momentum is sustainable."
Sri Lankan stocks have fallen nearly 10 percent this year as foreign investors, unnerved by global concerns over China's economy, have cut their exposure.
The yield on one-year T-bills rose 32 basis points to a more than two-year high of 7.80 percent at a weekly auction on Wednesday. Analysts expect market interest rates to rise in tandem.
On Thursday the 14-day relative strength index rose to 24.173, still in oversold territory, versus Wednesday's 12.070, Thomson Reuters data showed. A level between 30 and 70 indicates the market is neutral.
Foreign investors were net buyers of 251.2 million rupees ($1.75 million) of equities on Thursday. They have been net sellers of 2.11 billion rupees so far this year.
Stockbrokers said some foreign funds have started selling blue-chips, including market heavyweight John Keells Holdings and lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon.
On Thursday, conglomerate John Keells rose 0.32 percent and Commercial Bank of Ceylon gained 1.20 percent.
Daily turnover was 986.9 million rupees, the highest since Jan. 12, and more than this year's average of 870.8 million.
Shares in Lanka ORIX Leasing Company Plc rose 8.45 percent while Ceylon Cold Store Plc rose 6.55 percent.
($1 = 143.9500 Sri Lankan rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; editing by John Stonestreet)