Sri Lanka stocks down 1.5-pct

May 28, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stock prices continued to tumble, with the main indice breaching the psychological 5,000 barrier, brokers said. On Monday, the broader All Share Price Index shed 1.49 percent or 74.66 points to close at 4,935.01m while the liquid Milanka Price Index fell 1.86 percent or 84.57 points to end at 4,441.56, according to Colombo Stock Exchange figures.

Monday’s turnover was 395.8 million rupees, largely driven by conglomerate John Keells Holdings PLC.

JKH, which has investments in tourism, transport and financial services, was down 4.10 rupees to 192.00 rupees on 804,053 shares.

Sampanth Bank PLC, a small but profitable commercial bank, saw its share price fall 1.60 rupees to 162.00 rupees on 276,471 trades. A large block of 260,412 Sampath shares crossed just before market closed at 160.00 rupees.

Singer Sri Lanka, one of the island’s biggest consumer goods retailers, saw its share price fall 1.40 rupees to 88.00 rupees on trades of 201,888.

Brokers expect the market to remain subdued, as investors digest new trading rules that come into effect from June 1.

Sri Lanka’s securities regulator on Friday enforced deadlines to implement crossing and share transactions of stockbrokers, to mitigate future trading risks.

From June 5, the Colombo Stock Exchange will introduce a ceiling of 20 percent on a stock price, when the transaction is carried out on the crossings board, the Securities and Exchange Commission said.

From June 1, executive directors, staff, their spouses and their nominees of all licensed stockbrokers and stock dealers are banned from selling their quoted stocks bought on the secondary market for six-months from the date of purchase.

The deadline follows a directive the SEC issued on Tuesday, after National Savings Bank bought a 13 percent stake in the loss-making The Finance Company at 60 percent above the market price on April 27.

The controversial deal was aborted on the instructions of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, after the state-bank’s unions brought it to his attention.