Sri Lanka shares stay firm, speculators chase Maskeliya

Standing left to right – Mr. Dinesh Jebamani (Chief Manager Liability Product Management and New Age Media – Seylan Bank), Mr.Sudesh Peiris (Senior Manager – Digital Banking Channels – Seylan Bank), Ms. S.Senevirathne (Representative of the Revenue Department – Western Province), Mr. Tilan Wijeyesekera (Deputy General Manager – Retail Banking – Seylan Bank) and Mr. Malik Wickremanayaka (Deputy General Manager – Operations – Seylan Bank)

Oct 03, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares ended a shade firmer for the second day running after a long bear run, with heavy trading in Maskeliya Plantations, which was pushed up by speculators on takeover talk, brokers said.

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The All Share Price Index was up 0.32 percent (6.92 points) at 2,155.53 while the more liquid Milanka went up 0.39 percent (9.37 points) to 2,416.91. Turnover was 111 million rupees.

Maskeliya, the most actively traded stock, led the gains, ending up 15.4 percent or four rupees at 30 rupees followed by Richard Pieris & Company which closed almost 12 percent or 4.75 rupees higher at 44.75.

Sujeeva Peiris of Bartleet Mallory Stock Brokers said trading in Maskeliya was on speculation of a takeover.

The main contributor to the day’s turnover was trading in Distilleries Company which ended up a rupee at 71 rupees with 482,400 shares done.

Brokers said investors may be taking a risk and buying into the stock as it has fallen sharply given the uncertainty over the firm’s continued control of Sri Lankan Insurance Corporation which has been challenged in court.