Sri Lanka stocks end down 1.31-pct

Feb 11, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares ended sharply lower Thursday, dragged down by profit taking and the fall in prices of stocks with a heavy weighting in the indices, brokers said. Environmental Resources Investments shares closed at 234 rupees, down 4.50 with 760,500 shares traded. The company’s warrants were also heavily traded and ended weaker.

The sharp rise in the firm’s share price now put it in the top 10 on the Colombo bourse in terms of markt capitalization, brokers said.

This meant movements in the firm’s share price influenced the index.

The sharp rise in the firm’s price has attracted the attention of the market regulator which is probing the trades.

Brokers said Kshatriya Holdings closed at 11 rupees, down 50 cents with 15.2 million shares traded.

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The All Share Price Index closed at 3,724.84, down 1.31 percent (49.50 points) while the more liquid Milanka index fell 1.67 percent (72.27 points) to close at 4,263.53.

Turnover was 1.4 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

Rakshitha Perera, research manager at Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers, said profit taking among investors capitalizing on the market’s recent rally was partly the reason for the market’s fall.

Investor sentiment remained weak during Thursday’s trading but should revive because company earnings were recovering, he said.

“Investors should look forward and look at stocks where there is value on fundamentals, especially those whose prices have not moved up yet,” Perera said.

Among the heavily traded stocks were Environmental Resources Investments and Kshatriya Holdings, brokers said.