Sri Lanka share prices slump as punters turn choosy

Feb 05, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks ended lower Tuesday with investors picking shares of companies expected to report higher profits or known to pay high dividends, brokers said. The All Share Price Index fell 19.52 points to 2,434.04 while the liquid Milanka index closed down1.32 percent or 41.16 points at 3,082.22. Turnover was 204 million rupees.

Susil Fernando of DFCC Stockbrokers says companies like Chevron in lubricants and Dockyard in ship building were in demand.

Chevron Lubricants which is known to pay high dividends closed up one rupee at 86 rupees.

Colombo Dockyard ended up 25 cents at 62 rupees. Its share price has been rising steadily in recent weeks as investors anticipate higher earnings owing to a full order book for the yard, enjoying the benefits of the shipping boom.

Lanka Cement continued to draw interest on news of an investment by India’s Birla group with some 1.5 million shares changing hands and the share ending up one rupee at 11.75 on a volume weighted average.

A delegation from India was due to meet Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse over a possible link to re-start a plant in the northern Jaffna peninsular but company officials were in the dark about details.

Two blocks of Sri Lanka Telecom and Distilleries shares helped prop up turnover, Fernando said.

Some 700,000 shares of SLT were done with the stock ending down 75 cents at 30 rupees.

Distilleries traded flat at 95 rupees with 470,000 shares traded.

Meanwhile in the g-sec market a 23 month bond maturing on 15.01.2010 was sold at an average yield of 18.88 percent by the government’s debt office raising 519 million rupees. A 750 million issuance was offered. .