Sri Lanka stocks close up 1.10-pct on blue chips gains

Jan 05, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s benchmark All Share Price Index (ASPI) passed the 3,500 point mark for the first time Tuesday, on strong retail buying with blue chip stocks continuing to make gains, brokers said. Aitken Spence Hotels closed at 294.75 rupees, up 6.25, Galadari Hotels closed at 16.50 rupees, up 1.00, Hotel Developers closed at 121.50 rupees, up 3.50 and Hunas Falls Hotels closed at 52.25 rupees, up 4.00.

“The high occupancy rates in the leisure industry prompted a run on hotel stocks today,” Tissera said.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 193.00 rupees, up 2.25, Hatton National Bank closed at 179.75 rupees, up 7.25, Sampath Bank closed at 220.25 rupees, up 1.00 and Seylan Bank closed at 38.75 rupees, down 25 cents.

National Development Bank closed at 211.50 rupees, up 2.00 and DFCC Bank closed at 172.50 rupees, up 2.00.

Sri Lanka’s largest celco Dialog Telekom closed flat at 7.00 rupees, and fixed line operator Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 44.00 rupees, down 1.00.

Brokers said there was heavy speculative trading on forestry company Touchwood Investment. It closed at 95.00 rupees, up 9.25 with over 1.55 million shares changing hands, and Lanka Cement closed at 24.25 rupees, up 1.25.

The ASPI ended at 3,519.94, up 38.30 points while the more liquid Milanka closed at 4,025.66, up 1.61 percent (63.91 points), according to provisional stock market data.

Turnover was 1.54 billion rupees.

“Investors were picking blue chips ahead of presidential elections and the sentiment is at an all-time high,” Nikita Tissera, research manager at stock brokering house SC Securities said.

“We may see some of the retail interest turning to mid-cap stocks in the near future.”

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings closed at 180.00 rupees, up 1.00, and alcohol manufacturer Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka closed at 114.00 rupees, up 4.75 with over 1.5 million shares changing hands.

Selected hotel sector stocks were heavily traded, brokers said.

John Keells Hotels closed at 26.00 rupees, up 1.75 with nearly 2.0 million shares changing hands, and Hotel Services closed flat at 19.00 rupees, with 3.0 million shares traded.