Sri Lankan stock close 0.64-pct up

Jan 25, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka stocks up closed 0.6 percent higher Monday ahead of presidential polls tomorrow despite heavy foreign selling and index-heavy John Keells Holdings reporter strong results for the December quarter, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 3,554.45, up 0.64 percent (22.72 points), while the Milanka index of more liquid stocks gained 0.55 percent (22.07 points) to close at 4,066.90.

Turnover was 1.5 billion rupees. Foreigners bought 158 million rupees worth of shares, and sold 648 million rupees resulting in net sales of 490 million rupees, brokers said.

“The day’s business was dominated by buying interest on top blue chip stock Commercial Bank of Ceylon,” Rakshitha Perera, research manager at Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said.

“The market started-off from last week’s positive closing. However despite both indices moving up the sentiment was a bit dull with many investors staying in the sideline preferring to stay liquid.”

Brokers said 1.5 million Commercial Bank shares changed hands 185 rupees per share in a negotiated sale.

Commercial Bank closed at 185.25 rupees, up 25 cents, Hatton National Bank closed at 172.25 rupees, up 50 cents, Nations Trust Bank closed flat at 38.50 rupees, Sampath Bank closed at 215.50 rupees, down 1.50 and Seylan Bank closed at 39.00 rupees, up 50 cents.

Activated carbon exporter, Haycarb closed at 191.75 rupees, up 50 cents, while ship builder Colombo Dockyard closed at 292.00 rupees, up 6.50.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings closed at 173.00 rupees, down 75 cents, with 850,000 shares changing hands in a negotiated deal, and Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka closed at 117.75 rupees, up 2.00.

John Keells Holdings said its profits for the December 2009 quarter were up 49-pct to 1.1 billion rupees.

Celco Dialog Telekom, a unit of Malaysia’s Axiata closed flat at 6.75 rupees, and fixed line operator Sri Lanka Telecom closed flat at 43.00 rupees.

There was strong interest in forestry company Touchwood Investment, after it said appeal courts had quashed a ruling by the country’s accounting watchdog on its accounts. It closed at 112.50 rupees, up 19.25 with over 2.2 million shares traded.

Environmental Resources warrants also traded heavily among retail investors. Its W0000 issue closed at 93.00 rupees, up 1.50, the W0001 issue closed at 92.75 rupees, up 1.25 and voting shares closed at 125.25 rupees, up 6.25.