Sri Lanka Telecom, plantations drive share market higher

April 17, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s shares closed higher Thursday, driven by a large trade in market heavyweight Sri Lanka Telecom and interest in plantations stocks on anticipation of higher earnings owing to strong commodity prices, brokers said. The All Share price Index ended 24.08 points (0.91 percent) higher at 2,671.83 while the more liquid Milanka rose 30.02 points (0.90 percent) to 3,348.94. Turnover was 707 million rupees.

Some 7.9 million SLT shares changed hands adding 388 million rupees to the day’s turnover. The stock closed up 25 cents at 49.25.

“There’s some plantations sector buying coming in,” said Naren Godamunne, director DFCC Stcokbrokers. “Everyone expects the commodities market to pick up.”

Investors expect the plantations sector firms to post higher earnings in the latest quarter and believe that commodity prices will rise further.

Among the heavily traded plantations stocks were Madulsima which saw 626,200 shares traded and ended up 2.25 or 11.11 percent at 22.50, and Agalawatte with 163,800 shares done, closing at 42.50, up two rupees, according to the volume weighted average price.

There were also 326,300 shares of Balangoda Plantations done with the share up 1.50 at 39 while Maskeliya went up one rupee to 29.50 with 337,100 shares traded.

Namunukula Plantations went up 1.25 to 45.75 with 239,600 shares changing hands while there were 122,300 shares of Kotagala done with the stock ending flat at 70.

Royal Ceramics, which made an announcement to the Colombo bourse that it was getting into the roofing business, ended up two rupees at 48.50 with 107,800 shares traded. .