COLOMBO, April 2 Sri Lankan stocks closed at
six-week highs on Wednesday, led by foreign buying in
conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc, brokers said.
The main stock index ended 0.05 percent, or 2.95
points, firmer at 6,004.78, its highest since Feb. 18.
The days turnover was boosted by the foreign buying in John
Keells. Turnover was at 1.95 billion rupees ($14.9 million),
more than double of this year's daily average of 915.5 million
Shares in John Keells, which saw foreign buying of 3.4
million shares, gained 0.73 percent to 234.00 rupees, while Sri
Lanka Telecom Plc rose 1.76 percent to 46.20 rupees.
On Wednesday, the bourse saw a net foreign inflow of 852.9
million rupees worth of shares, but foreign investors have been
net sellers of 5.81 billion rupees so far this year.
Analysts said investor sentiment was hit following the
United Nations announced it would probe alleged war crimes by
the island nation.
The UN last week launched an inquiry into war crimes
allegedly committed by both Sri Lankan state forces and Tamil
rebels during the conflict that ended in 2009, saying the
government had failed to investigate properly.
Analysts said the outcome of the resolution was expected,
but investors sentiment has been dented over concerns it could
hurt the country's economy. Several potential buyers of risky
assets are awaiting a clear direction.
The bourse suffered 2.77 billion rupees of foreign outflow
on Friday, a day after the resolution was passed. But brokers
said the foreign selling was not due to the resolution and the
relevant foreign fund has been on the selling side since
($1 = 130.7000 Sri Lanka Rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Anand