Sri Lanka shares slide

March 20, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares ended slightly weaker Friday, dragged down by heavyweights, in thin trade with conglomerate John Keells Holdings ending firmer after its AAA rating was confirmed, brokers said.

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The All Share Price Index edged down 0.26 percent (4.24 points) to end at 1,621.81 while the more liquid Milanka fell 0.75 percent (12.56 points) to close at 1,672.41.

Turnover was 77 million rupees.

JKH, the third most actively traded stock, ended up 1.32 percent or 75 cents at 57.75 after Fitch Ratings confirmed the group’s AAA rating with a ‘stable’ outlook.

Shares of the loss-making Dialog Telekom fell 2.13 percent or 10 cents to close at 4.60 rupees, near its all-time low of 4.50.

Seylan Merchant Leasing, whose share price has risen sharply in recent weeks on takeover talk, went up almost three percent or 50 cents to end at 17.50

Seylan Merchant Leasing is part of the troubled Ceylinco group which is selling off subsidiaries to raise funds to repay depositors of a collapsed unlisted subsidiary, Golden Key.

Sri Lanka’s largest leasing company People’s Leasing Company, a unit of state-run People’s Bank, is in talks to buy Seylan Merchant Leasing.