Sri Lanka stocks close down 0.14-pct on profit taking

Dec 04, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed down Friday as retail investors were seen taking profits from this week’s rally, while big trades in John Keells Holdings (JKH) and Distilleries Company pushed turnover levels up, brokers said.

The All Share Price Index closed at 3,000.33 down 0.14 percent (4.28 points) while the Milanka Price Index of more liquid stocks closed at 3,415.96, up 0.02 percent (0.78 points).

Turnover was pushed up to 1.04 billion rupees, according to provisional Colombo Stock Exchange statistics.

“JKH continued to be the top dog in this week’s trade dominated by a couple of foreign funds,” Nikita Tissera, research manager at stock brokering house SC Securities said.

“The foreigners are paying a premium for a free float adjusted market capitalization that JKH can boast of.”

Only a few firms on the Colombo bourse like JKH have a big enough free float to entice foreign investors who want the ability for a quick exit if required.

Brokers said 4.4 million JKH shares and almost 1.3 million shares of Distilleries Company changed hands.

Conglomerate JKH which has business interest in financial services, leisure, retailing, transport and food processing closed at 152.00 rupees, down 50 cents, and liquor manufacturer Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka closed at 95.00 rupees, up 50 cents.

Retailer favorite Lanka Cement closed at 24.50 rupees, down 25 cents, and forestry company, Touchwood Investments closed at 83.75 rupees, down 1.25.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 176.00 rupees, up 1.00, DFCC Bank closed at 145.00 rupees, up 50 cents, Hatton National Bank closed at 163.00 rupees, up 25 cents and Sampath Bank closed flat at 180.00 rupees.

Chevron Lubricants closed at 225.50 rupees, down 4.50, and Nestle Lanka closed at 404.00 rupees, up 75 cents.

Dialog Telekom closed flat at 7.00 rupees, and Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 42.00 rupees, down 25 cents.