Sri Lanka shares fall sharply

Feb 15, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares fell sharply Tuesday, with the main index losing most of Monday’s gains, with oil palm shares of the Carson group that had driven it to a new high, coming down, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 7,607.79, down 2.61 percent (204.03 points) while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.33 percent (24.14 points) to close at 7,224.67, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

Turnover was 4.4 billion rupees.

Tea exporter HVA Foods, which began trading, was the day’s highest gainer and most actively traded stock, closing at 26.30 rupees, up 64 percent or 10.30 rupees with over 19 million shares changing hands.

HVA Foods had an initial public offer of 19.93 million shares at 16 rupees each on January 12, 2011.

The stock opened at 24 rupees, hitting a high of 29 during the day and a low of 23.20 with almost 20 million shares traded.

There was also a big transaction in Ceylon Tea Services, part of the Dilmah tea export group, with over 1.4 million shares changing hands at 650 rupees each.

Stock market analysts said the seller was probably Genesis Smaller Companies Fund.

The share closed at 650 rupees, down 150 or 19 percent, and the day’s third biggest loser.

Several Carson Cumberbatch group firms with oil palm estates in east Asia that had driven the Colombo bourse to a new high Monday in anticipation that high commodity prices would boost earnings, lost some of their gains Tuesday.

Selinsing closed at 1,399.70 rupees, down 50.30 rupees or three percent, Shalimar (Malay) closed at 976.80 rupees, down 195.60 or 17 percent, The Bukit Darah closed at 1,333.80 rupees, down 206.40 or 13 percent and The Good Hope closed at 1,370 rupees, down 295.10 rupees or 18 percent.

Carson Cumberbatch closed at 664.70 rupees, down almost nine percent or 65.10 rupees.

Ceylon Investment, an investment firm of the Carson group, was the second most actively traded stock, closing at 165.90 rupees, down 12 percent or 23.50