Sri Lankan shares end at over 1-wk high amid EU trade concession news

COLOMBO, Jan 11 (Reuters) – Sri Lankan shares ended at their highest in over a week led by market heavyweight John Keells Holdings as speculation over the country regaining a trade concession helped boost sentiment, stockbrokers said.

The market shrugged off foreign outflows in an oversold market, dealers said.

The European Commission, after close of market hours, said in a statement that it has proposed increased market access for Sri Lanka as a reform incentive.

The Colombo stock index ended 0.52 percent up at 6,184.54, its highest close since Jan. 2.

"The market was in oversold region and investors have been waiting for an opportune moment. The news of Sri Lanka regaining the EU trade concession also helped sentiment," said Hussain Gani, deputy CEO at Softlogic Stockbrokers.

The 6-7 percent concession earlier offered by the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus had brought substantial benefits to the garment industry, Sri Lanka’s second biggest foreign exchange earner after remittances.

Sri Lanka lost the EU concession in 2010 after then-president Mahinda Rajapaksa rejected demands from the international community to address human rights abuses allegedly committed during a 2009 offensive to crush a Tamil insurgency.

The day’s turnover stood at 1.12 billion rupees ($7.48 million).

Foreign investors sold a net 903.4 million rupees worth of equities on Wednesday, extending the year-to-date foreign outflows to 1.7 billion rupees.

John Keells Holdings, which accounted for around 80 percent of the day’s turnover, closed 1 percent higher.






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