COLOMBO Jan 11 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
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.
($1 = 149.6500 Sri Lankan rupees)
(Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil Nair)