Sri Lanka shares becalmed, Chevron unit draws interest

Sept 24, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares ended barely changed Wednesday with turnover slumping to very low levels as investors stayed away owing to uncertainty about future company earnings and the economy, brokers said.

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The All Share Price Index was down 0.14 percent (3.08 points) at 2,227.87 while the Milanka edged up 0.25 percent (6.37 points) to close at 2,518.68. turnover was just 76 million rupees.

Chevron Lubricants Lanka was the third most actively traded stock, ending up 1.72 percent or two rupees at 118 rupees with 128,000 shares changing hands.

Broker said investors were buying into the stock on expectations its earnings would improve with lower crude oil prices.

“Investor sentiment is negative because of the uncertainty both in the local market and internationally,” said Mohan Thangarajah of First Guardian Equities.

“There’s a lack of good news (to move prices).”

Market heavyweight Dialog Telekom, the most actively traded share, ended flat at 9.25 rupees with 331,900 shares changing hands.

The stock has lost its allure as growing competition and rising costs have eroded its profitability.

Brokers said turnover slumped as retail investors stayed on the sidelines, not venturing to trade because of uncertainty over corporate earnings, which have been coming down in recent quarters.