Sri Lanka shares end down 2.3-pct

Feb 09, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s stock market slumped further Thursday, with the main index losing 125 points after falling 100 points the day before, down for the seventh straight trading session, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index closed down 2.30 percent (125.26 points) at 5,316.99, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 2.00 percent (94.65 points) to close at 4,627.14.

Turnover was 871 million rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

Index heavyweight John Keells Holdings fell 1.30 rupees to close at 163.60 rupees with 1.26 million shares changing hands. Brokers said a recent hike in interest rates could also hit stocks.

While some firms have been reporting higher quarterly profits, tea companies have been reporting losses amid higher wage costs.

Bogawantalawa Tea Estates said it lost 28 million rupees in the December 2011 quarter from a profit of 69 million rupees a year earlier as margins turned negative.

DFCC Bank said margins were narrowing. Net margins on its fund book fell 4 percent although net profit for the December 2011 quarter rose 48 percent to 954 million rupees from a year earlier, partly helped by lower taxes.

Environmental Resources Investments was the most actively traded stock, Thursday, closing at 23.20 rupees, down 90 cents.

Softlogic Holdings was also actively traded, ending at 13.90 rupees, down one, along with Asia Asset Finance, which closed at 4.90 rupees, down 20 cents.