April 3, 2014 / 11:36 AM / 4 years ago

Sri Lanka stocks top 6-wk high; foreign buying boosts turnover

COLOMBO, April 3 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan stocks edged up to more than six-week highs on Thursday, led by telecom shares while foreign trading boosted the day’s turnover.

The main stock index ended firmer 0.23 percent, or 13.69 points, at 6,018.47 - its highest since Feb. 18.

Foreign buying accounted for 83.6 percent of the day’s 2.57 billion rupees ($19.66 million) turnover, well above this year’s daily average of 942.6 million rupees.

The bourse saw a net foreign inflow of 297.7 million rupees worth of shares. Foreign investors have been net sellers of 5.52 billion rupees so far this year.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC, the top listed lender, closed 1.67 percent firmer, while shares in Sri Lanka Telecom Plc rose 3.46 percent.

The top conglomerate John Keells Holdings, which fell 0.56 percent, saw a net foreign selling of 1.32 million shares. Commercial Bank of Ceylon saw a net foreign buying of around 57,000 shares.

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 = 130.7150 Sri Lanka Rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Joyjeet Das)

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