Sri Lanka shares down on profit taking

Sept 22, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks fell Tuesday dragged down mainly by heavyweight Sri Lanka Telecom and banks as investors took profits from the rally in prices in recent weeks, brokers said. “The market came down mainly due to profit taking,” said Hatangala. “We saw prices dropping in banking stocks and SLT.”

SLT closed at 44 rupees, down two rupees.

Foreigners bought 602.83 million worth shares and sold 392.45 million with a net foreign inflow of 210.38 million rupees. Foreign participation was 43.6 percent of total market activity.

Hatangala said foreigners were becoming interested in the market given potential gains stemming from a revival in growth with the end of the ethnic war and also because returns were lower in overseas markets.

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But trading remained above a billion rupees with a net foreign inflow of funds in the Colombo bourse seen as attractive to foreign investors faced with low returns in overseas markets.

The All Share Price Index fell 0.98 percent (28.90 points) to end at 2,910.54 while the more liquid Milanka fell 0.40 percent (13.23 points) to close at 3,280.25, according to provisional stock exchange figures.

Turnover was 1.1 billion rupees.

Chinthana Hatangala of Lanka Securities said John Keells Holdings accounted for the highest turnover – over 40 percent – with a contribution of 483 millin rupees.

There were up to 11 crossings, or off-the-floor deals of JKH all at 155 rupees, the price at which the stock closed, as more insitutions and corporate investors traded

There were two crossings of Dialog Telekom shares at six rupees, with the share closing flat at that price, and a deal for 500,000 shares of Distilleries Company at 90 rupees. It closed at 89.50, up a rupee.

HNB Assurance also saw a deal for 530,000 shares at 47 rupees each. It closed at 47.25, up a rupee.