Sri Lankan shares fall on profit taking

Dec 23, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed down Wednesday as investors took profits ahead of the festive season, while high interest on conglomerate John Keells Holdings (JKH) and Asian Hotels pushed turnover over a billion rupees, brokers said. The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed down 0.45 percent (14.82 points) to end at 3,266.00 while the Milanka index of liquid stocks dipped 0.34 percent (12.69 points) to close at 3,744.33, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 1.30 billion rupees.

“Investors took profits ahead of the year-end festival,” Thakshila Hulangamuwa, vice president at stock brokering firm Asha Phillip Securities said.

“Despite the profit taking turnover levels remain healthy, showing investors have come to the market for the long term.”

JKH closed at 170.00 rupees, down 2.00, and alcohol manufacturer Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, which profits the most during the festive season, closed at 103.25 rupees, down 2.25.

Brokers said over 3.21 million shares of Asian Hotels changed hands. It closed at 90.00 rupees, up 2.00.

Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings closed at 253.25 rupees, down 12.25, Amaya Leisure closed at 54.25 rupees, up 50 cents, Hotel Developers at 118.00 rupees, up 3.00, Hunas Falls Hotels closed at 49.25 rupees, down 1.50 and Sigiriya Village Hotels closed flat at 39.00 rupees.

Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel, formerly Trans Asia Hotel, closed at 161.00 rupees, up 2.25.

Sri Lanka Telecom closed flat at 45.00 rupees, and celco Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telekom Malaysia closed at 7.00 rupees, up 25 cents.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 185.00 rupees, down 3.50, Hatton National Bank closed at 168.00 rupees, up 1.50 with 615,000 shares changing hands, Sampath Bank closed at 200.00 rupees, down 3.00 and Seylan Bank closed at 37.50 rupees, down 25 cents.

Retailer favourites Lanka Cement closed at 24.25 rupees, up 50 cents and forestry company Touchwood Investment closed at 84.50 rupees, down 75 cents.