Sri Lanka shares becalmed, profit taking seen

Sept 18, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks ended flat Friday with trading heavy but volatile and some profit taking seen and investors buying blue chips in anticipation of future foreign buying, brokers said.

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The All Share Price Index fell 0.16 percent (4.61 points) to end at 2,939.44 while the more liquid Milanka rose 0.11 percent (3.46 points) to close at 3,293.48, according to provisional stock exchange figures.

Turnover was almost 1.2 billion rupees.

“We saw some volatility in the market and some profit taking also came in but investor participation remained at higher levels like during the previous four days,” said Chinthana Hatangala of Lanka Securities.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings was the highest contributor to the day’s turnover with 448.58 million rupees followed by Hemas Holdings with 121.03 million rupees.

JKH closed at 155, up 50 cents while Hemas ended at 130, up 1.50 with several crossings or off-the-floor deals in both stocks.

“During the day we saw higher interest on blue chip, especially the index heayweights,” said Hatangala.

“Maybe this was because of expectations of more foreing funds and institutional investor participation in the market in the coming weeks. They try to buy blue chips which have more liquidity as most shares have a small free float.”

Central Bank cuts in policy rates and further falls in government treasury bill rates also helped improve interest in equities, Hatangala said.

There was heavy trading in banks and hotels throughtout the week during which foreign participation amounted to 27 percent.

The week ended with a foreign inflow of funds there being net foreign purchases worth 386.86 million rupees, although some selling was also seen.