Sri Lanka stocks end up 0.5-pct

Sri Lankan Police forming a human chain in parliament to protect the Speaker and enable a vote.

Sept 29, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed firmer Thursday and turnover also rose with an insurer whose ownership changed hands recently being brought under a price band after a sharp rise in its price, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index rose 0.55 percent (37.24 points) to 6,747.91, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.02 percent (1.13 points) to close at 5,998.15, according to stock exchange figures.

Turnover was 2.8 billion rupees.

Ascot Holdings was the most actively traded stock and second highest gainer, closing at 188.90 rupees, up 58.90 or 45 percent, with three million shares changing hands and accounting for the biggest turnover.

Asian Alliance Insurance was the day’s biggest gainer, closing at 350.60 rupees, up 116.80 or almost 50 percent, with 787,700 shares traded.

There was a crossing or off-market private deal of 100,000 AAIC shares at 250 rupees each.

Softlogic Holdings group last monh brought control of the insurer, buying a 73.5 percent stake for 3,308 million rupees at 120 rupees per share.

The Softlogic group’s stake had risen to 98.6 percent after the close of a mandatory offer under stock exchange rules when the Richard Pieris group accepted the offer and sold their stake at 120 rupees a share.

Analysts said that Softlogic is then believed to have sold at least 1.5 million Asian Alliance Insurance shares at 121 rupees a day after the mandatory offer closed.

The sharp rise in the prices of Ascot Holdings and Asian Alliance shares Thursday prompted the markets regulator to bring them under the 10 percent price restricting daily price movements from September 30 to October 6.

Trading in Regnis (Lanka) accounted for the third highest turnover with the stock closing at 420.30 rupees, up 23.40, after hitting a high of 429.

There were two crossings of John Keells Holdings, one of 273,400 shares at 205 rupees each, and the other of 100,000 shares at 207.90 rupees each. JKH closed at 205 rupees, down 3.10, after hitting a day’s high of 208.20.