Sri Lanka stocks end up one percent

Oct 24, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks rose Monday with many shares pushed up in thin trade, led by sharp gains in illiquid ones, amid a controversy over an attempt to push out a regulator cracking down on equities fraud, brokers said. There was one crossing of Seylan Bank of 529,300 shares at 65 rupees each. It closed at 71.30, up 10.30. The main All Share Price Index rose 1.06 percent (67.42 points) to 6,424.36, while the more liquid Milanka index rose 1.04 percent (58.90 points) to close at 5,733.76, according to stock exchange figures.

Turnover was 950 million rupees.

Infrastructure Developers was the day’s highest gainer, closing at 54.70 rupees, up 18.20, or almost 50 percent on just 300 shares traded.

Miramar Beach Hotel was the second highest gainer, up 86 rupees or 42 percent to 288.10 rupees with 600 shares traded.

Gestetner of Ceylon was the third highest gainer, closing at 360.60, up 60.60 rupees or 20 percent with 4,700 shares traded.

The market’s rise for the second day Monday in thin trade after several days of falls came amid speculation of pressure by powerful investors to remove Malik Cader, director general of Sri Lanka’s Securities and Exchange Commission.

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.

Analysts said Monday’s market rise in thin trade amid the controversy looked as if certain investors were trying to create the impression the market welcomed Cader’s removal.

The SEC has denied reports of pressure for Cader’s removal, saying they were based on rumours.

Index heavyweight John Keells Holdings fell 3.10 rupees to 191.90 with 119,100 shares traded.

Commercial Bank closed 50 cents up at 108.50 rupees with 30,200 shares traded and Dialog Axiata closed up 20 cents at 8.20 with 46,200 shares done.

HVA Foods was the most actively traded stock, closing at 47.30 rupees, up 5.80 or 14 percent with 4.3 million shares done and accounting the the day’s highest turnover.

Colombo Land & Development Company was also actively traded, closing at 59.60, up 1.80 with just over a million shares done.

There were two crossings or off-market private deals of Sampath Bank of 100,000 shares each both at 207 rupees a share. It closed at 207.80, up 4.30.