March 14, 2014 / 11:41 AM / 4 years ago

Sri Lanka shares fall to more than 2-wk low; turnover slumps

COLOMBO, March 14 (Reuters) - Sri Lankan shares fell for a fifth straight session on Friday to their lowest in more than two weeks with turnover slumping to almost a quarter of this year’s daily average as investors awaited direction from a U.N. resolution on the island nation’s human right records.

Analysts said investor sentiment has been dented on concerns over the U.N. resolution, which could have an impact on the country’s economy and many potential buyers in risky assets are staying on the sidelines for want of clear direction.

The main stock index fell 0.3 percent, or 17.71 points to 5,896.23, its lowest close since Feb. 26.

The day’s turnover was 251.4 million rupees ($1.92 million), around a quarter of this year’s daily average of about 938.9 million rupees.

Analysts said most investors were waiting for direction ahead of voting on the resolution later this month.

Shares of Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC fell 1.03 percent to 1,099.90 rupees, while those of top conglomerate John Keels Holdings Plc fell 1.26 percent to 220.00 rupees.

Foreign investors turned net sellers for the first time in eight sessions. They have sold a net 20.28 million worth of shares on Friday, but were net buyers of 224.9 million rupees worth of shares in the last eight sessions.

However, Sri Lanka has seen net selling in stocks worth 5.2 billion rupees in the last 25 sessions as some offshore funds exited, while net outflows so far in 2014 stand at 3.82 billion rupees, after net inflows of 22.88 billion rupees last year.

Sri Lanka last week hit back at a report by the U.N. human rights chief, questioning the independence of the human rights office of the U.N. after the United States asked it to investigate violations by the Sri Lanka government. ($1 = 130.7000 Sri Lanka rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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