Bourse at 5-week high; Softlogic transfer of NDB stake boosts turnover

Friday, 28 March 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

REUTERS: 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 UN 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%, or 41.65 points, firmer at 5,992.62, its highest since 18 February. “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 Rs. 1.68 billion ($ 12.85 million), the highest since 11 February, helped by Rs. 1.25 billion from an inter-company deal in National Development Bank, which ended 0.5% up at Rs. 180.90. 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% to Rs. 46.9, and conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC, which gained 2.20% to Rs. 222.80. The Sri Lankan bourse saw a net foreign inflow of Rs. 40 million worth of shares, but foreign investors have also been net sellers of Rs. 4.13 billion worth of shares so far this year. It had recorded a Rs. 22.88 billion inflow in 2013.