Sri Lanka plantation stocks draw interest

April 15, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks edged higher Tuesday with plantations stocks drawing some interest in an otherwise dull market on anticipation of higher earnings from high commodity prices. All Share Price Index went up 10.98 points or 0.42 percent to 2,625.61 while the more liquid Milanka Price Index rose 15.58 points (0.48 percent) to 3,291.32.
Turnover was 98.8 million rupees.

Activity was low after a long weekend as brokers and investors remained on the sidelines at the start of trading week shortened by traditional new year holidays.

“Prices of a few plantation sector stocks like Namunukula, Balangoda and Watawala moved up slightly on retail buying,” said Vajira Premawardhana, head of research at Lanka Orix Securities.

Namunukula went up 50 cents to 43 rupees with 78,100 shares traded, Balangoda was up 50 cents at 36.50 rupees with 42,800 shares changing hands and Watawala rose 1.75 to 83.50 rupees on transactions of 6,700 shares.

Investors were anticipating higher earnings from plantations firm in the March quarter which are expected to be released later this month or early next month.

Some plantations firms are expected to report higher earnings because of high tea, rubber and palm oil prices.

Premawardhana said he expects the market to remain stagnant this week ahead of another long weekend.

But the market could pick up next week and the week after when 31 March results are reported. .