Sri Lankan shares revived by rate cut

Mar 19, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed up Thursday for the second day running amidst foreign selling in conglomerate John Keells Holdings (JKH) as local investors snapped up shares following an interest rate cut, brokers said.

The All Share Price Index was up 0.45 percent (7.21 points) to end at 1,626.05 while the more liquid Milanka gained 0.23 percent (3.91 points) to close at 1,684.97.

Turnover was 142.4 million rupees

“Retail investors were active today on the back of the rate cuts by the Central Bank,” said Geeth Balasuriya of Acuity Stockbrokers.

“The day’s highlight was JKH and foreign investors were mostly on the selling side.”

A crossings (a negotiated off-the-floor deal) of 251,000 JKH shares changed hands at 56 rupees, in a foreign-to-local transaction, while another one million shares of JKH crossed at 57, again foreign-to-local.

JKH transactions accounted for 105.6 million rupees of the day’s turnover. JKH was up one rupee to close at 57.

“There was renewed interest in some selected plantation stocks as key tea prices gained at the auctions,” said Balasuriya.

Madulsima Plantations was 50 cents up to close at nine rupees, while Maskeliya Plantations shares gained 50 cents, to close at 14.

Dialog Telekom, a subsidiary of Telekom Malaysia, was down 10 cents to close at 4.70 rupees, while Lanka Cement closed flat at 9.75.