Sri Lanka shares mixed, selling pressure on JKH

Dec 19, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares ended barely changed Friday with selling pressure continuing in John Keells Holdings which was the most actively traded stock, brokers said.

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The indices moved in opposite directions with the All Share Price Index marginally firmer, up 0.03 percent (0.49 points) to close at 1,526.76 while the Milanka fell 0.21 percent (3.56 points) to end at 1,686.08.

Turnover was 103 million rupees.

Sujeewa Pieris of Bartleet Mallory Stock Brokers said the main contributor to the day’s turnover were the transactions in John Keells Holdings which continues to be under selling pressure.

John Keells Holdings was flat at 55 rupees with 511,600 shares traded.

Brokers said the seller was believed to be local and the buyer foreign.

According to stock exchange data, there was a net foreign inflow of funds this week with foreign sales of 182 million rupees and buying of 297 million rupees.

Pieris of Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said investors were still cautious and remained mostly out of the market given the economic uncertainties and also the approaching Christmas holidays.

Other big transactions for the day were 100,000 Ceylinco Insurance at 185 rupees, 224,000 shares of Commercial Bank at 68.75, down 25 cents, although it closed unchanged at 68.50, and 227,000 shares of Distilleries mostly at 52.75 with the stock closing at 52 rupees, 75 cents up.

Meanwhile, listed tea exporter Ferntea said in a stock exchange filing it had received a court order to wind up the company and appointing liquidators.

The order for liquidation of Ferntea came in its court case with Carmel Consolidated, one of its main shareholders.