Sri Lanka stocks close up 1.5-pct

Sept 04, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka stocks closed up for the fifth straight day gaining 1.5 percent with retail buying support and plantations related stocks moving up, brokers said. The Colombo All Share Price Index closed at 5,379.22 up 76.23 points and the S&L SL20 closed up 1.16 percent at 2,931.4 gaining 33.5 points.

Turnover was 1.2 billion rupees, with Free Lanka, Samapath Bank, E-channelling, Peoples Leasing and Bukit Darah contributing.

Plantations related stocks made gains, with Tea Smallholder up 9.0 rupees to 54.90 rupees, Watawala Plantations up 1.80 to 11.60 rupees, Metropolitan Resource Holdings up 3.40 to 23.00 rupees, Madulsima Plantations up 1.90 to 14.00 rupees.

The plantations sector index gained 8.6 percent.

Foreigners were net buyers by 69 million rupees on Tuesday compared against a net sell position on Monday.

Colombo’s benchmark index has gained 5.7 percent since August 23 a trend seen after the regulator who was seen as being tough on securities fraud was replaced by the finance ministry.

Foreign inflows have moderated somewhat in recent days. In the week to 17 August net foreign buying was 819 million, in the week to August 23, 1.4 billion rupees but in the week to August 30 it was only 87 million rupees.

Analysts say it can be due to concerns over rule of law or recent gains giving opportunities to take profits.

Seasoned foreign investors have been buying into fundamentally strong stocks after the market corrected from a credit fired bubble and interest rates started to rise.