Sri Lanka shares edge up; Nestle, HNB gain

COLOMBO, March 19 Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:40am EDT

COLOMBO, March 19 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares edged higher in light trade on Wednesday, led by Nestle Lanka Plc and Hatton National Bank PLC (HNB) despite foreign outflows as an impending U.N. resolution on the country's human rights record later this month dented sentiment.

The main stock index ended up 0.07 percent, or 4.41 points, at 5,912.05.

Foreign investors were sellers for a fourth straight session, recording net sales of 274.2 million rupees worth of shares on Wednesday. Net outflows so far in 2014 stand at 4.16 billion rupees, and clocked 22.88 billion rupees in 2013.

The day's turnover was at 641 million rupees ($4.91 million), well below this year's daily average of about 907.4 million rupees.

Analysts said investor sentiment has been dented on concerns over the U.N. resolution, which could have an impact on the country's economy. Many potential buyers in risky assets are staying on the sidelines awaiting clear direction.

Nestle Lanka gained 1.99 percent to 1,950.20 rupees while Hatton National Bank rose 3.27 percent to 157.90 rupees.

Earlier this month, Sri Lanka questioned the independence of the human rights office of the United Nations after the United States asked it to investigate violations by the Sri Lanka government related to the civil war.

A vote on the resolution is scheduled for the last week of the session, starting on March 24. ($1 = 130.5900 Sri Lanka rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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