Sri Lanka stocks end up 1.2-pct

Oct 21, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed higher in thin trade Friday, ending a slide of several days, amid speculation over the removal of a senior official in the markets regulator which has cracked down on manipulators, brokers said. The sole crossing or off-market private deal was 300,000 Commercial Bank non-voting shares at 75 rupees each. The main All Share Price Index rose 1.19 percent (74.94 points) to 6,356.94, while the more liquid Milanka index rose 0.82 percent (45.93 points) to close at 5,674.86, according to stock exchange figures.

Turnover was 795 million rupees.

SMB Leasing W0016 warrants led the gainers in very thin trade, closing at 30 cents, up 10 cents or 50 percent with almost 3.8 million shares traded.

Asian Alliance Insurance, another stock which rose sharply recently, was the third highest gainer closing at 213 rupees, up 28.80, or 16 percent with 38,500 shares traded.

Index heavyweight John Keells Holdings closed 1.30 rupees lower at 195 rupees with 88,500 shares traded.

There has been speculation that Malik Cader, director general of Sri Lanka’s Securities and Exchange Commission, had been removed or had ‘resigned’ amid reports of pressure for his removal.

The SEC has cracked down on widespread microcap fraud and insider dealing recently which has been blamed for the steep correction in the Colombo bourse by powerful investors and interests connected to micro cap fraud.

In Friday’s transactions, HVA Foods was the most actively trade stock and among the top gainers, closing at 41.50 rupees, up 5.40 or 15 percent with 1.6 million shares traded.

Colombo Land & Development Company was also actively traded, closing at 57.80 rupees, up 6.40 rupees, and accounting for the day’s biggest turnover.

Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide non-voting shares were among the heavily traded stocks, closing at 4.10 rupees, up 40 cents.

Commercial Bank non-voting shares accounted for the third highest turnover. It closed at 74.50 rupees, up 1.40.