Sri Lanka shares close 0.34-pct up, ‘penny stocks’ in demand

May 12, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed higher Wednesday as retailers booked profits and re-invested in small-cap companies or ‘penny stocks’ as cheap shares are known, while Nawaloka and Galadari Hotel shares were heavily traded, brokers said. Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed flat at 242.00 rupees, Hatton National Bank closed at 233.00 rupees, up 75 cents, Nations Trust Bank closed at 36.75 rupees, down 25 cents, Sampath Bank closed at 281.50 rupees, down 3.75 and Seylan Bank at 35.50 rupees, down 1.00.

Sri Lanka Telecom, a fixed line operator closed at 38.00 rupees, up 1.50, and Dialog Telekom closed flat at 8.25. The All Share Price Index closed at 4,229.40, up 0.34 percent (14.18 points) while the Milanka index of more liquid stocks slid 0.12 percent (5.64 points) to close at 4,742.17.

Turnover was almost 2.2 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

“Investors are realizing profits and reinvesting on low cap stocks with a short term horizon in mind,” Thakshila Hulangamuwa, vice president at stock brokering house Asha Phillip Securities said.

Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide non-voting shares closed at 1.00 rupee, up 10 cents with 14.2 million shares changing hands. Raigam Wayamba Salterns closed at 4.30 rupees, up 10 cents with 4.85 million shares traded.

Seylan Merchant Bank which closed flat at 1.20 rupees and Sierra Cables which closed flat at 2.60 were heavily traded, brokers said.

Nawaloka Hospitals closed at 6.50 rupees, up 50 cents with 20.2 million shares traded, while Galadari Hotel closed at 32.25 rupees, up 25 cents with almost 24 million shares changing hands Wednesday.

Conglomerates Aitken Spence closed at 1,450.25 rupees, up 25 cents, Hayleys closed at 281.00 rupees, down 1.50 and Hemas Holdings closed at 142.75 rupees, up 2.25.