Sri Lanka stocks end down almost one pct

Nov 22, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed lower Tuesday with plantations stocks among the biggest losers after the government said in its 2012 budget it would seize estate lands lying unused, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.96 percent (58.91 points) to 6,060.95, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 1.09 percent (58.21 points) to close at 5,299.24, according to stock exchange figures.

Turnover was 1,189 million rupees.

Among the eight most traded stocks, only Diesel & Motor Engineering closed higher, rising 12.50 rupees to 1,275 with 13,000 shares done.

All plantations stocks traded Tuesday closed weaker with the exception of Balangoda Plantations.

The government’s 2012 budget, presented to parliament Monday, said it would seize 37,000 acres that were unused from regional plantations companies and re-distribute them among small farmers.

The budget also had a host of other incentives for plantations, especially tea, with tax breaks, bigger replanting grants and low-cost loans that will benefit growers and exporters.

Maskeliya Plantations closed at 16.20 rupees, down 1.80 or 10 percent, with 12,200 shares traded.

Udapussellawa Plantations ended at 32.60 rupees, down 3.50 or 9.7 percent on two trades of just 300 shares.

Kotagala Plantations fell 6.90 rupees or almost nine percent to end at 71.10 rupees with 7,900 shares traded.

Kelani Valley Plantations closed at 89.10 rupees, down 7.80 rupees or eight percent, with 600 shares done.

Transactions in John Keells Holdings accounted for the largest turnover. JKH closed flat at 175 rupees with 3.27 million shares traded including three crossings or off-market deals of 1.65 million shares at 175 rupees each and one crossing of 165,333 shares at 174.

There were also two crossings of Softlogic Capital of 2.5 million shares each at 35 rupees a share. The stock closed at 35, down 1.60 rupees.

Orient Garments was the most actively traded stock, closing at 35.50 rupees, up 1.20 with 834,000 shares done.

HVA Foods was also actively traded, closing at 38.50 rupees, doen 70 cents, with 379,500 shares traded.

Lanka Ashok Leyland closed at 2,700 rupees, down 50 rupees, with 200 shares done.