Sri Lanka stocks close firmer

Nov 11, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares ended firmer Wednesday, buoyed partly by a share split announcement from Chevron Lubricants Lanka, brokers said.

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The All Share Price Index closed at 2,854.24, up 0.37 percent (10.58 points) while the Milanka Price Index of more liquid stocks closed at 3,218.88, up 0.65 percent (20.79 points).

Turnover was 521 million rupees, according to provisional Colombo Stock Exchange statistics.

Nikita Tissera, manager research at SC Securities, said a share split announced by Chevron Lubricants Lanka helped improved investor sentiment.

Chevron Lubricants Lanka closed at 188 rupees, up 13.75 after it announced a planned share split that will double the number of shares in issue to 120 million.

“There was a lot of positive sentiment about the share split,” said Tissera. “It went all the way up to 200 rupees and ended at 188.”

Janashakthi Insurance, the most actively traded stock, closed at 12.50 rupees, down 25 cents.

The company shares have been heavily traded since it announced a two-rupee dividend, the best dividend yield in the market.

Balangoda Plantations closed at 21.50 rupees, up 1.50, after it announced a September quarter net profit of 81 million rupees, compared with a 37-million rupees loss a year ago.
The company, part of the Stasen group, said in a stock exchange filing that sales rose to 656 million rupees during the quarter from 484 million a year ago.

But it not reveal the impact of a sharp increase in wage costs, after a wage hike wrested by estate labour unions in October, that has caused losses in some other plantations firms.

Investors were looking at the current crop of September quarter earnings for guidance on how the market might move.

Wednesday’s upturn on the bourse broke a trend of forced selling that had brought the market down sharply in recent days, as investors sought to meet settlementsand reduce losses when trading on borrowed funds.