Sri Lanka JKH, Dialog in big trades

Feb 17, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares ended weaker Tuesday but large trades in John Keells Holdings, Dialog Telekom and National Development Bank boosted turnover, although institutions were still inactive, brokers said.

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The All Share Price Index eased 0.40 percent (7.05 points) to end at 1,744.93 while the more liquid Milanka eased 0.33 percent (6.10 points) to close at 1,865.08.

Turnover was 244 million rupees.

Sujeewa Pieris of Bartleet Mallory Stock Brokers said the indices were brought down by falls in a few high market capitalization stocks although their trading volumes were thin.

“The improvement in overall volumes is a good sign,” he said. “But local institutional investor activity is still negligible compared with foreign investors and local retail investors.”

He also said the global economic crisis meant foreign funds were unlikely to come back to the local bourse in a big way.

“Because of the global scenario we can’t expect much foreign activity or foreign investments to flow in here.”

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings went up one rupee to close at 65 rupees with 1.48 million shares traded, boosting the day’s trading volumes.

Brokers said they believed it was mostly local selling and foreign buying.

Dialog Telekom was unchanged at five rupees with 6.7 million shares done mostly in two large blocks.

NDB closed flat at 100 rupees with 406,700 shares done.

Foreign buying was 169 million rupes and foreign sales 79 million, resulting in a net inflow of 89 million rupees.