COLOMBO, April 4 Sri Lankan index gained for the
third straight session on Friday to hit a near seven-week high,
led by large caps such as Ceylon Tobacco Co Plc, while
foreign investors sold conglomerate John Keells shares, boosting
the day's turnover.
The main stock index ended up 0.6 percent, or 36.08
points, at 6,054.55 - its highest since Feb. 17.
Foreign selling accounted for 88.7 percent of the day's 5.04
billion rupees ($38.58 million) turnover, well above this year's
daily average of 1.01 billion rupees.
The bourse saw a net foreign outflow of 4.08 billion rupees
worth of shares extending the net foreign selling so far this
year to 9.6 billion rupees.
Shares in Ceylon Tobacco rose 2.47 percent to 1,075 rupees,
while shares in Sri Lanka Telecom Plc rose 2.72
percent to 49.10 rupees.
The top conglomerate John Keells Holdings Plc,
which ended flat, saw a net foreign selling of 16.94 million
Analysts, however, said investor sentiment is yet to recover
after 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 a 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.
($1 = 130.6500 Sri Lanka rupees)
(Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez)