Sri Lanka stocks end flat with SLT trades boosting turnover

March 10, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks ended flat Monday but volumes were boosted to over 700 million rupees on heavy trading in Sri Lanka Telecom after a court ruling cleared a sale of an equity stake to a foreign buyer. The All Share Price Index ended 0.1 percent lower at 2,567.45 while the more liquid Milanka was also 0.1 percent lower at 3,217.33 with turnover going up to 711 million rupees.

Trading in SLT shares helped push turnover up while sizeable quantities of Commercial Bank, Distilleries and John Keells Holdings shares were also traded, said Arjuna Dassanayake of DFCC Stockbrokers.

SLT accounted for the highest turnover, contributing 137 million rupees to the day’s turnover with the stock closing up 25 cents at 36.25 rupees.

Some 3.7 million SLT shares were traded within a range of 35-37.25 rupees, after a court ruling permitted the managing shareholder NTT to sell its stake to Malaysia’s UT group.

UT has expressed interest in buying up a 35.2 percent stake of SLT now held by NTT, but earlier reports said only a 25 percent stake would be sold by NTT. A sale of 30 percent of stock would trigger a mandatory offer.

Commercial Bank ended down 1.25 at 147 rupees with over 1.2 million shares traded and adding 185.5 million rupees to turnover.

Just over a million JKH shares were traded with the stock closing up 25 cents at 120.50 rupees and the trades adding 124 million rupees to turnover.

Distilleries traded flat at 100 rupees with 469,000 shares changing hands and contributing 47 million rupees to turnover.

Lanka Cement drew continued interest from speculators with 270,300 shares changing hands. The stock ended down 75 cents at 15.50 rupees.

The rupee closed at 107.50/50 against the US dollar. .