Sri Lankan stocks close 0.20-pct down

Mar 10, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed down Wednesday as retail investors took profits from midcaps and low value shares, while the Milanka index made small gains from a rise in the price of Environmental Resources Investments shares, brokers said. Touchwood Investments which dragged the market down on Tuesday made a sharp comeback, brokers said. It closed at 116.00 rupees, up 4.50 with 460,000 shares traded.

Brokers said 1.1 million Seylan Bank shares changed hands at 49.00 rupees. It closed at 46.75 rupees, up 25 cents.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 193.00 rupees, up 1.00, Hatton National Bank closed flat at 180.00 rupees, Sampath Bank closed flat at 240.00 rupees and Nations Trust Bank closed flat at 36.50.

Environmental Resources ordinary voting shares closed at 251.25 rupees, up 11.50. Its 0000 warrants closed at 162.75 rupees, up 4.75, and 0001 warrants closed at 163.00 rupees, up 4.75.

Dialog Telekom closed flat at 7.00 rupees, and Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 36.50 rupees, down 50 cents.

There were 65 gainers and 71 losers at the end of trade, brokers said.

The All Share Price Index closed at 3,801.22, down 7.79 points, while the Milanka index of more liquid shares gained 0.08 percent (3.35 points) to close at 4,385.67.

Turnover was 714 million rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

“There was selling pressure due to retailers taking profits,” Rakshitha Perera, research manager at Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said.

“The market sentiment was weak, especially amongst high-net-worth investors who preferred to stay on sidelines with the elections just around the corner.

“The market is marginally down on thin trading volumes. Investors can capitalize on the discounted share prices,” Perera said.

Sri Lanka is holding parliamentary polls on April 8.

John Keells Holdings, a conglomerate closed at 166.50 rupees, down 50 cents, and Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, an alcohol producer closed at 116.00 rupees, down 3.00.