Sri Lanka shares end down 2.2-pct

Feb 13, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares plunged Monday, down for the eighth straight trading session in a continuing sell-off by investors that has seen the prices of some of those favoured by speculators fall sharply, brokers said. Environmental Resources Investments shares, a speculator favourite, was the most actively traded stock, ending at 20.20 rupees, down three.

ERI W0003 warrants were among the top losers, closing at 5.80 rupees, down 1.50.

ERI W0006 warrants also fell sharply, ending at six rupees, down 1.50.

Asia Asset Finance, the second most actively traded stock, closed at four rupees, down 90 cents.

The main All Share Price Index closed down 2.20 percent (117.01 points) at 5,199.98, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 2.23 percent (102.97 points) to close at 4,524.17.

Turnover was 1.5 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

At one point during mid-morning, stocks were down almost four percent in thin trade before recovering somewhat as buyers returned.

A weakening rupee and rising interest rates have added to the woes of investors already unnerved by a continuous market fall despite regulators agreeing to most demands of stock brokers to prop up shares, like enhanced credit.

Investors were also shaken by a steep fuel price hike that will increase costs of many listed companies.

Index heavyweight John Keells Holdings fell 2.02 rupees to close at 160.30 rupees with 1.6 million shares changing hands.

Commercial Bank lost 50 cents to close at 100.50 rupees.