Sri Lanka stocks end up 0.9-pct

Dec 01, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed higher Thursday with turnover pushed up by a bank deal amid news that the chairperson of the regulatory body was quitting just weeks after powerful investors forced out its director general. The main All Share Price Index rose 0.94 percent (57.27 points) to 6,144.67, while the more liquid Milanka index rose 0.57 percent (30.18 points) to close at 5,303.76, according to provisional stock exchange figures.

Turnover was 4.2 billion rupees.

Nations Trust Bank trades accounted for the day’s biggest turnover with the acquisition of a 9.9 percent stake in NTB by DFCC Bank for 1.3 billion rupees, brokers said.

DFCC Bank bought 22,865,356 shares at 57.80 rupees each in three crossings or off-market deals, a source close to the deal said.

NTB closed at 58 rupees, up 2.10 or 3.8 percent.

Market heavyweight John Keells Holdings closed at 169.90, down 10 cents, with over 1.1 million shares traded, including one crossing of 894,266 shares at 170 rupees each.

Debutant Entrust Securities was the day’s highest gainer, closing at 70.90 rupees, up 28.30 or 66 percent, having begun trading earlier this week at its refence price of 20 rupees. Over 3.8 million shares were traded.

Swarnamahal Financial Services was the second highest gainer, closing at 95.30 rupees, up 19.30 or 25 percent with 1.3 million shares changing hands. It hit 99 rupees.

The Lanka Hospital Corporation was the most actively traded stock and third highest gainer, closing at 58.30 rupees, up 11.40 or 24 percent, with over 5.2 million shares done.

HVA Foods was also actively traded, closing at 42.70 rupees, up 1.10 with over 3.4 million shares done.

Securities and Exchange Commission chief Indrani Sugathadasa said she has resigned, just weeks after the watchdog’s director general Malik Cader was removed by the cabinet of ministers.

They came under pressure from powerful investors after they began a crackdown on widespread microcap fraud and insider dealing on the Colombo bourse.