Sri Lankan shares becalmed, retailers take profits

Oct 14, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed flat Wednesday as retail investors took profits from an overheating market, while banking stocks made further gains, brokers said. “With the activity improving the market depth has improved giving rise to higher liquidity levels which is an additional catalyst to foreign investors,” Samarasinghe said.

Touchwood Investments closed at 96.50 rupees, up 3.75, and Lanka Cement closed at 31.75 rupees, down 50 cents.

Over 20 million Tess Agro shares changed hands. It closed at 1.80 rupees, up 20 cents.

Tokyo Cement closed at 259.00 rupees, up 8.75.

Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telekom Malaysia closed flat at 7.50 rupees, and fixed line operator Sri Lankan Telecom closed at 46.00 rupees, down 1.00.

The All Share Price Index closed down 0.02 percent (0.52 points) to end at 3,139.21, while the Milanka Index of more liquid stocks gained 0.36 percent (12.89 points) to close at 3,557.62, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 1.2 billion rupees.

“The market would be sustainable at these levels as retail activity is strong, while foreign and high net worth participation is also picking up,” Danushka Samarasinghe, head of research at investment house Asia Securities said.

“With interest rates coming down there is a strong shift of funds from fixed income to listed equities. Because the macro-economic indicators have improved, it’s likely foreign investments will improve.”

Seylan Bank closed at 46.25 rupees, up 1.25, and Seylan Bank non-voting closed at 18.75 rupees, up 50 cents with over four million shares traded.

Commercial Bank closed at 190.00 rupees, up 1.75, and Hatton National Bank closed at 172.75 rupees, down 25 cents.

National Development Bank closed at 198.75 rupees, up 2.25, and Sampath Bank closed at 191.25 rupees, up 1.25.