Sri Lanka stocks 0.90-pct, Galleon sells NDB shares

Dec 08, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed up Tuesday on renewed interest in high value counters and hotels, while a large foreign-to-local deal on National Development Bank (NDB) pushed volumes up, brokers said. Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 177.00 rupees, up 25 cents, DFCC Bank closed at 152.00 rupees, up 5.75, Hatton National Bank closed at 168.75 rupees, up 75 cents and Sampath Bank closed at 186.25 rupees, up 2.75.

Asian Hotels and Properties closed at 80.75 rupees, up 2.75, Hotel Sigiriya closed at 51.00 rupees, up 3.00, Hunas Falls Hotels closed at 50.50 rupees, up 75 cents, Pegasus Hotels closed at 33.00 rupees, up 2.25 and Serendib Hotels closed at 68.00 rupees, up 6.25.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings closed at 156.25 rupees, up 1.25, and Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka closed at 96.75 rupees, up 3.00.

Sri Lanka’s largest celco Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telekom Malaysia closed flat at 7.00 rupee, and the largest fixed line operator Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 43.25 rupees, up 50 cents.

Retail favorites forestry company Touchwood Investment closed at 82.50 rupees, down 1.25, and Lanka Cement closed at 25.25 rupees, up 50 cents.

The All Share Price Index closed at 3,052.68 up 0.90 percent (27.31 points) while the Milanka Price Index of more liquid stocks closed at 3,481.59, up 0.94 percent (32.51 points).

Turnover was 1.16 billion rupees, according to provisional Colombo Stock Exchange statistics.

“Overall market activity levels have improved and there’s renewed interest on selected blue chip and bank stocks,” Angelo Ranasinghe, research head at Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said.

“There is also renewed interest on the hotel sector on the back of improving arrival numbers.”

In an off-the-floor deal 3.9 million NDB shares were sold at 176.50 rupees a share by the Galleon Fund, managed by billionaire fund manager, Raj Rajaratnam.
Nearly all the shares were bought by several local buyers consisting of funds and high net worth investors, brokers said

Sri Lankan born Rajaratnam was arrested by US market regulators in New York on October 17, 2009 for a suspected insider dealing in stocks and released on bail. He has denied the chargers.

NDB closed at 180.50 rupees, down 1.50, with over 4.0 million shares changing hands.