Sri Lankan stocks close 0.3-pct up

May 05, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed 0.34 percent higher Wednesday as investors scrambled for Nawaloka Hospitals shares after it sold a large stake of Galadari Hotel which had hurt the hospital group’s balance sheet earlier, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 4,219.76, up 14.25 points while the Milanka index of more liquid shares gained 0.79 percent (37.59 points) to close at 4,786.19.

Turnover was 2.83 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

“With the sale of the Galadari Hotel shares, Nawaloka Hospitals took some weight off its balance sheet and also in terms of financing costs,” Nikita Tissera, research manager at stock brokering house, SC Securities said.

“The news of Nawaloka’s capital gain in the process was well received by the investors.”

Galadari Hotels, a five star hotel in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, closed at 34.00 rupees, down 4.00 with 15.7 million shares traded, and Nawaloka Hospitals closed at 5.75 rupees, up 25 cents with 61.5 million shares changing hands, Wednesday.

The Nawaloka group is controlled by the Dharmadasa family.

The Galadari parcel was believed to have been bought by a foreign buyer, brokers said.

Over 5.0 million shares of E-Channeling changed hands Wednesday. It closed at 14.00 rupees, up 1.00.

John Keells Holdings closed at 190.25 rupees, down 1.50, and Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka closed at 126.00 rupees, up 25 cents.

Commercial Bank closed at 237.25 rupees, down 1.75, Hatton National Bank closed at 237.75 rupees, down 2.25, Sampath Bank closed at 281.25 rupees, down 5.50 and Seylan Bank closed at 54.00 rupees, up 50 cents.

Sri Lanka’s largest celco, Dialog Telekom, a unit of Axiata, Malaysia, closed at 8.50 rupees, up 1.00 with almost 24 million shares traded, and fixed line operator Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 38.00 rupees, up 1.00.

Updated