Sri Lanka stocks at 5-week high; NDB deal boosts turnover

COLOMBO, March 27 Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:47am EDT

COLOMBO, March 27 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan stocks rose on Thursday to their highest in more than five weeks led by telcos and diversified shares, with an inter-company deal in National Development Bank shares boosting turnover to a six-week high, ahead of a U.N. resolution on the country's human rights record.

The United Nation's human rights chief on Wednesday pressed for an international inquiry into alleged Sri Lankan war crimes, on the eve of a resolution critical of the island nation.

Concerns that the resolution could hurt the country's economy has dented investor sentiment, analysts said. Several potential buyers of risky assets are awaiting a clear direction.

The main stock index ended 0.7 percent, or 41.65 points, firmer at 5,992.62, its highest since Feb. 18.

"Everybody knows the resolution will be passed. But the market and investors want to know what will happen afterwards," a stockbroker said on condition of anonymity.

Turnover was 1.68 billion rupees ($12.85 million), the highest since Feb. 11, helped by 1.25 billion rupees from an inter-company deal in National Development Bank, which ended 0.5 percent up at 180.90 rupees.

Three stockbrokers said the deal was done by two companies within Softlogic Holdings PLC. Officials from Softlogic Holdings were not available for comment.

Top contributors to the day's gain were Sri Lanka Telecom PLC, which rose 5.16 percent to 46.9 rupees, and conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC , which gained 2.20 percent to 222.80 rupees.

The Sri Lankan bourse saw a net foreign inflow of 40 million rupees worth of shares, but foreign investors have also been net sellers of 4.13 billion rupees worth of shares so far this year.

It had recorded a 22.88-billion-rupee inflow in 2013. ($1 = 130.7000 Sri Lanka rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil Nair)