Sri Lanka shares fall on profit-taking

Mar 02, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed lower Tuesday on profit-taking by investors, mainly on banks, while interest in ceramic tile stocks drove up their prices, brokers said.

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The All Share Price Index closed at 3,820.66, down 0.12 percent (4.64 points) while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.02 percent (1.05 points) to close at 4,389.56.

Turnover was almost 1.6 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

“The market opened positive but then selling pressure brought it down,” said Rakshitha Perera, research manager at Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers.

“People are realizing gains. Stocks moved up till the results came. Now people who bought at lower levels before the earnings are getting rid of (their shares) and realizing profits.”

Perera also said there was some interest in the ceramics sector with most stocks moving up.

Royal Ceramics Lanka closed at 114 rupees, up 4.75.

There was a large private deal in Lanka Walltile of 1.25 million shares at 80 rupees. The stock, the second highest traded in terms of volumes, closed at 80.75, up 5.75.

Lanka Ceramic closed at 76.75, up 5.50.

Perera said finance sector stocks fell on selling pressure, with several large private deals done in National Development Bank (NDB), which also helped boost the day’s trading turnover.

There were four deals at 222 rupees and a couple of others at 220.50. NDB closed at 220.50 rupees, down 3.50 with just over a million shares traded.

Other large deals included HNB Assurance in which 936,900 shares were done at 60 rupees. HNB Assurance closed at 58.25, up 3.25

Ceylinco Insurance closed flat at 265 rupees with a deal of 45,000 shares done at 270.

Chevron Lubricants closed at 174 rupees, up 6.25, with a deal of 94,300 shares done at 169.50.

Cargills (Ceylon) closed at 70 rupees, up 1.25, with a deal of 176,000 shares done at 70 rupees.