Sri Lanka shares stagnant

Aug 21, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares ended flat Friday with small investors chasing speculative stocks like Environmental Resources Investments while a few big deals of heavyweights like John Keells Holdings went through, brokers said.

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The All Share Price Index fell 0.07 percent (1.70 points) to end at 2,522.92 while the more liquid Milanka rose 0.27 percent (7.55 points) to close at 2,851.04, according to provisional stock exchange figures.

Turnover was 514 million rupees.

Chinthana Hatangala of Lanka Securities said JKH accounted for much of the day’s turnover with several off-the-floor deals, four at 134 rupees a share and one at 135 rupees a share and altogether over 1.6 million shares changing hands.

“Except for JKH and Environmental Resources turnover levels were very low and thin volumes were recorded,” he said.

Sujeewa Pieris of Bartleet Mallory Stock Brokers said the other main contributors to the day’s trading came from Sampath Bank and National Development Bank.

Sampath closed at 137 rupees, up four rupees with 135,000 shares traded while NDB closed at 166.25, up a rupee with 100,000 shares changing hands.

“The focus of retail investors was on speculative counters like Environmental Resources Investments, both warrants and voting shares,” said Peiris.

Investors appeared to be betting on the stock’s future potential with speculation of a lot of funds being raised through a rights issue.

Environmental Resources Investments voting shares closed at 38, up 2.50 rupees.

Brokers said more fund buying would required for stocks to rise further from current levels and that the inflow of foreign funds into government treasury bonds augured well for future potential investments in equities.