Sri Lanka stocks end little changed

June 17, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s stock market closed flat Tuesday on retail interest with Ceylinco Insurance dominating the thin trading on speculation of a rights issue, brokers said. The All Share Price Index fell 0.19 percent (4.54 points) to end at 2,440.37 while the more liquid Milanka was down 0.16 percent (4.80 points) to end at 2,919.60.

Total turnover was 107 million rupees with less than five million shares traded.

Deals on Ceylinco Insurance, which gained five rupees to close at 225.00, dominated the floor and contributed 21.7 million rupees to total turnover.

Brokers said investors considered Ceylinco Insurance attractive because of its foreign shareholdings.

The company said it was raising 1.4 billion rupees by selling non-voting shares to boost regulatory capital, expand its foreign presence and launch a new health insurance policy.

Competitor Janashakthi Insurance whose IPO was oversubscribed on the opening day itself Monday is to decide the basis of allotment this week.

Meanwhile, in the broader market, trading was thin on all counters. Sri Lanka Telecom closed flat at 46 rupees with less than 100 shares traded and Dialog Telekom also closed flat at 12.75.

Diversified John Keells Holdings was unchanged at 112.00 rupees.

Malwatte Valley Plantations dipped four rupees to close at 55.75, Kotagala Plantations was up 3.00 at 60.00 while Kegalle Plantations went up 2.00 to close at 65.00.