Sri Lankan retail investors play on mid-sized stocks

Feb 22, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed lower amid profit taking but retailers were selectively betting on mid sized stocks, brokers said. The All Share Price Index lost 6.18 points or 0.25 percent to end at 2,510.79 while the more liquid Milanka index was hardly changed at 3,163.75 with turnover being 270 million rupees.

Harsha Fernando, chief executive of SC Securities, said trading by retailer investors was the noticeable feature of the day.

“The market was slightly down today. Retailers were quite active in the market,” he said.

“Everyone seems to be looking at stocks which are undervalued.”

Plantation stocks which are drawing mainly retail interest are trading at low price to earning multiples.

Some 586,000 shares of Balangoda Plantations changed hands, with the stock going down 75 cents to 35 rupees on the volume weighted average price.

More than two million shares of the Colombo Fort Land and Building Company (CFLB) were traded in quantities that indicated retail activity.

The share went up 2.25 rupees or 11.69 percent to 21.50 rupees.

The share price of tea exporter Ferntea, whose liquidation has been ordered by court, fell 2.50 rupees or 13.7 percent to 21.50.

The Colombo stock exchange ordered a temporary halt to Ferntea trading pending the court verdict with 391,700 shares being traded.

Some 600,000 shares of Dankotuwa Porcelain were traded with a large block done at 20.50.

Distilleries was down 25 cents at 100 rupees with 168,800 shares traded. .