Stocks up on foreign buying
Reuters: 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%, or 2.95 points, firmer at 6,004.78, its highest since 18 February.
The day’s turnover was boosted by the foreign buying in John Keells. Turnover was at Rs. 1.95 billion ($ 14.9 million), more than double of this year’s daily average of Rs. 915.5 million.
Shares in John Keells, which saw foreign buying of 3.4 million shares, gained 0.73% to Rs. 234, while Sri Lanka Telecom Plc rose 1.76% to Rs. 46.20.
On Wednesday, the Bourse saw a net foreign inflow of Rs. 852.9 million worth of shares, but foreign investors have been net sellers of Rs. 5.81 billion 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 Rs. 2.77 billion 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 February.