Sri Lanka stocks close down 0.5-pct

May 10, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed lower Tuesday with brokers saying speculative trade was still going strong despite regulatory curbs on unusual price movements. The main All Share Price Index closed at 7,339.65, down 0.52 percent (38,21 points) while the more liquid Milanka index was down 0.29 percent (19.59 points) to close at 6,740.82, according to stock exchange figures.

Turnover was 1.5 billion rupees.

“Still speculative trading is taking place actively despite the generous imposition of price bands on anything that moves up significantly,” said Sarath Rajapaksa, Director of Capital Trust Securities.

“Gamblers are now not deterred by these restrictions. They send the prices of those within the bands up by 10 percent everyday. You will notice that this return is more than what you can expect to receive per annum from a fixed deposit.

“Retail investors who got hit during the past six months are now desperately trying to recover at least a part of what they lost,” Rajapaksa said.

Nation Lanka was the highest contributor to the day’s turnover and closed at 16.40 rupees, up 4.46 with 10.3million (170 million rupees) shares done.

Trade in Browns shares contributed 131.9 million rupees to turnover, Lanka Ventures 79 million rupees and Pelwatte Sugar 72.8 million rupees.

Shares of Alufab, which has called an extraordinary general meeting to seek approvals to capitalise its liabilities as net assets have fallen below half the stated capital, fell 9.99 percent to 157.6 rupees.