Sri Lankan stocks close 0.15-pct down

May 25, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed down Tuesday as investors continued to take profits from an overheating market, while large privately negotiated deals on hotels and financial services shares boosted turnover, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 4,226.49, down 6.43 points, while the Milanka index of more liquid stocks fell 0.22 percent (10.34 points) to close at 4,721.78.

Turnover was 2.76 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

“The market continued to see high daily turnover despite flat indices waiting to see post-war benefits in the form of interim results,” Nikita Tissera, research manager at stock brokering firm SC Securities said.

“The indices have not seen much movement either way for some time, so we believe there is further upside potential for select stocks if their quarterly earnings improve.”

Lanka Orix Leasing Company (LOLC) had bought 3.1 million shares or 43.3 percent in Confifi Hotel Holdings at 210 rupees in a deal worth 655 million rupees.

The deal was done through its subsidiary, LOLC Securities, a firm in which Browns Investments has a 30 percent stake, LOLC said in a stock exchange filing.

In a separate deal LOLC had bought another 20 percent stake in Riverina Hotels, LOLC said. Brokers value the deal for 2.6 million shares at 110 rupees each at 286 million rupees.

Confifi Management Services, a family-controlled firm which holds almost 30 percent of Confifi Holdings, had not sold-out to the LOLC-Browns combine, source close to the deal said.

Confifi Hotel Holdings closed at 216.75 rupees, down 1.25, Riverina Hotels closed at 129.00 rupees, up 19.00 and LOLC closed at 276.50 rupees, up 16.25.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed flat at 249.00 rupees with 2.86 million shares changing hands at 249.00 rupees in a privately negotiated off-the-floor deal, brokers said.

Janashakthi Insurance closed at 13.50 rupees, down 25 cents, with 1.66 million shares changing hands Ceylinco Insurance closed at 269.75 rupees, down 25 cents and Amana Takaful closed at 30.75 rupees, up 25 cents.