Sri Lanka stocks edge up on foreign buying

COLOMBO, March 20 Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:38am EDT

COLOMBO, March 20 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares edged up in thin trade on Thursday led by blue-chips and on foreign buying, but an impending U.N. resolution on the country's human rights record later this month dented sentiment.

The main stock index ended up 0.04 percent, or 2.51 points, at 5,914.56.

Foreign investors were net buyers for the first time in five sessions, buying a net 52.1 million rupees worth of shares on Thursday. Net outflows stood at 4.1 billion rupees so far in 2014, and clocked 22.88 billion rupees in 2013.

The day's turnover was 263.3 million rupees ($2.02 million), well below a third of 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.

Shares in biggest listed lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC gained 1.03 percent, while top conglomerate John Keells Holdings edged up 0.05 percent.

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 next week. ($1 = 130.6000 Sri Lanka rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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