Sri Lanka stocks end flat with SLT still drawing buying interest

March 27, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed flat with trading dominated by Sri Lanka Telecom and two blocks of John Keells Holdings which boosted turnover, brokers said. The All Share Price Index ended down 1.25 points at 2,548.31 while the Milanka, which tracks the more liquid stocks, closed down 13.13 points at 3,177.57. Turnover was 617 million rupees.

Arjuna Dassanayake of DFCC Stockbrokers said the main transactions were JKH with a couple of crossings, SLT and Seylan Bank non-voting shares.

Over 2.1 million SLT shares were traded with the stock closing at 40.75 rupees, up 25 cents while 3.2 million JHK shares changed hands, with the share ending 25 cents down at 119.75.

There were also 2.3 million Seylan Bank non-voting shares done with the stock closing up 25 cents at 9.50.

Some buying interest returned on Bairaha Farms after a court order lifting a suspension of production at its processing factory, with 332,500 shares traded. Bairaha ended up 1.75 at 18 rupees.

Lanke Cement went up 75 cents up to 14,50 with 171,200 shares changing hands.

Brokers said some forced sales were evident by investors who bought into speculative stocks with borrowed funds.

Brokers also warned of share prices being pushed up by firms wanting to prop up the value of their portfolios as the financial year came to an end. .