Sri Lanka stocks soar 3-pct on margin rule

Aug 16, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka stocks closed up 3.1 percent with the regulator saying brokers could give margin facilities to clients, and the benchmark index moved above 7,000 points, in a five week high brokers said. Colombo’s benchmark All Share Price Index close up 3.13 percent or 214.21 points at 7,050.74 while the Milanka Index of liquid stocks closed up 3.67 percent (227.6 points) at 6,427.19, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

Turnover was 3.7 billion rupees. There were 223 gainers and 27 losers.

In buying run, even plantations stocks which have reported weaker earnings held firm or gained, giving chance for cautious investors to sell out, brokers said.

Lanka Hospital Corporation, a state controlled fee levying hospital, was targeted by speculators with the stock driven up 31.40 rupees or 58.58 percent to 89.50 rupees.

Lanka Hospital reported earnings of 30 cents per share in the June 2011 quarter unchanged from a year earlier and 69 cents in the six months. Though revenues rose, rising expenses took a toll on margins, squeezing profits, interim accounts showed.

The stock is now trading more than 70 times its annualized profits, allowing punters who had been caught with the stock earlier to exit.

On Tuesday five million shares were traded for 623.4 million rupees.

Colombo Land, a property-firm in which units have already been sold to those occupying them, closed at 52.50 rupees up 9.80 rupees or 22.95 percent. Colombo Land 7.7 million shares were traded for 368.2 million rupees.

Index heavy John Keels Holdings closed at 215 rupees up 12 rupees or 5.91 percent .JKH 1.8 million shares changing hands for (including 535,000 share negotiated deal at 213 rupees) for 298 .4 million rupees.