Sri Lankan shares down on earnings jitters

Mar 03, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks tumbled on Tuesday as blue chip counters took a beating due to worse-than-expected corporate results which kept investors on the sidelines, brokers said.

The All Share Price Index lost 1.93 percent (32.22 points) to end at 1,639.47while the more liquid Milanka shed 2.27 percent (39.71 points) to close at 1,710.40.

Turnover was 62.5 million rupees.

“The weak sentiment amongst investors is dragging the market down,” said Dharshi Ganeshan of Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers.

“Most of the corporate results have been very poor in the last quarter.”

The most actively traded stocks were National Development Bank (NDB) which generated 62.5 million rupees in turnover, John Keells Holdings (JKH) 10.3 million, Chemanex 4.1 million and Lanka Cement with 3.9 million rupees.

Highly illiquid palm oil plantation company The Bukit Darah was down 77.75 rupees to close at 762.25 on slim volumes.

Sampath Bank was down three rupees to close at 67, while Seylan Bank was down two rupees to close at 32.50.

NDB was down two rupees to close at 95.

“Institutional activity was witnessed in Chemanex whilst overall market activity was driven by thin turnover,” said Danushka Samarasinghe, research manager at stock brokering firm Asia Securities.

“Institutional and high net worth investors are still on the sidelines with a wait-and-see attitude.”

Sri Lanka’s largest private bank, Commercial Bank of Ceylon, was down one rupee to close at 84.

JKH was down 2.25 rupees to close at 57.

Dialog Telekom was down 10 cents to close at 4.70, while fixed line giant Sri Lanka Telecom fell 75 cents to close at 33.50.

Chemanex was down 2.25 rupees to close at 50. Lanka Cement was down 25 cents to close at 11.50.

Distilleries Company was down 2.25 rupees to close at 60.

Forestry company Touchwood Investment was down 3.75 rupees to close at 53.25.

Foreign buying was at six million rupees, while foreign selling was at 21.8 million, resulting a net outflow of 15.8 million rupees.