Sri Lankan stocks becalmed

Mar 15, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka stocks closed flat Monday as investors took profits and reinvested in selected midcap and hotels stocks, while heavy interest in John Keells Holdings (JKH) and Hotel Services (Ceylon) boosted turnover past a billion rupees, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 3,843.55, down 0.03 percent (1.29 points), while the Milanka index of more liquid shares gained 0.15 percent (6.81 points) to close at 4,439.61.

Turnover was 1.24 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

Foreign investors bought 477.1 million rupees of shares, and sold 531.4 million, resulting in a net outflow of 54.3 million rupees, brokers said.

“Investors showed some interest on the hotels sector and selected midcap stocks,” Rakshitha Perera, research manager at Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said.

“JKH was the main contributor to the day’s turnover.”

Hotel Services closed at 25.50 rupees, up 2.50 with 5.38 million shares changing hands, brokers said.

Controlling interest in Hotel Services (Ceylon) Limited, which owns Ceylon Continental Hotel, Colombo’s first five-star hotel, was sold to the Hayleys group last week in several large blocks at 21 rupees a share. On Friday it closed at 23.25 rupees, up 2.25.

JKH closed at 169.00 rupees, up 25 cents with 2.9 million shares traded at 168.00 and 169.00 rupees on a privately negotiated off-the-floor deal, and Hayleys closed at 235.00 rupees, down 1.00.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 192.50 rupees, down 50 cents, Hatton National Bank closed flat at 182.00 rupees, Nations Trust Bank closed at 36.50 rupees, down 25 cents and Sampath Bank closed at 239.00 rupees, down 1.25.

Seylan Bank closed at 46.25 rupees, down 50 cents, DFCC Bank closed at 182.00 rupees, up 25 cents, and National Development Bank closed at 215.25 rupees, up 25 cents.

Sri Lanka Telecom, a fixed line operator closed flat at 37.75 rupees, and Dialog Telekom, a celco closed at 7.25 rupees, up 50 cents, with over 4.35 million shares traded.

There were 53 gainers and 94 losers at the end of trade, brokers said.