Sri Lanka shares close flat

Mar 09, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed flat on Monday on thin volumes, with some Ceylinco group companies which are slated for management changes or take-over moving up, brokers said.

The Colombo All Share Price Index edged up 0.18 percent (3.0 points) to end at 1,630.70 while the Milanka index of liquid stocks was up 0.05 percent (0.92 points) to close at 1,676.21.

Turnover was 47.3 million rupees.

John Keells Holdings (JKH) one of Sri Lanka’s largest diversified companies that has business interest in transport, retail, finance and food sectors topped the day’s turnover with 15.5 million rupees. Lanka Cement contributed 8.2 million rupees to turnover.

Ceylinco group companies, The Finance Limited was up 50 cents to close at 27.75, Seylan Bank was up 1.75 rupees to close at 34.75.

Seylan Merchant Bank was up 20 cents to close at 2.70, while Seylan Merchant Leasing was 5.50 rupees to close at 14.75.

Last week Seyland Merchant Leasing’s parent said it was in talks to sell the firm to People’s Leasing and the Central Bank said management changes were in store for The Finance.

Market sentiment is still weak and activity levels are likely to remain low through out the week,” said Geeth Balasuriya of Acuity Stockbrokers said.

“The worse-than-expected results are dragging the market down.”

JKH was down 1.75 rupees, to close at 55.25, while Lanka Cement was up 25 cents to close at 10.0 rupees.

Fixed line operator Sri Lanka Telecom closed 34.75 flat, while index heavyweight Dialog, a celco closed flat at 4.60 rupees.

Foreign buying was at 6.2 million rupees, while foreign selling amounted to 3.1 million.