Sri Lankan stocks becalmed

Mar 22, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed barely changed Monday and trading was lower than that of recent days as retail investors bought into conglomerate John Keells Holdings (JKH) and selected midcap stocks, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 3,743.00, 0.05 percent or 1.92 points down, while the Milanka index of more liquid shares edged up 0.12 percent (5.32 points) to close at 4,324.54.

Turnover was 539 million rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

“John Keells Holdings, Colombo Land and Development Company and (John) Keells Hotels attracted some investor interest,” Nikita Tissera, research manager at SC Securities said.

“Overall, quantities traded could remain low leading to the new year.”

The island’s celebrates its traditional new year in mid-April with parliamentary polls being held before, on April 8.

Brokers said they expect in investors to stay mostly away from the market until the polls and new year are over.

John Keells Holdings closed at 170 rupees, down two rupees and its leisure unit, Keells Hotels closed at 19 rupees, up 0.50.

Colombo Land & Development Company closed at 7.25, up 0.25.