Sri Lankan stocks close 0.31-pct down

Feb 03, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed down Wednesday as retailers took profits on counters that rallied in recent weeks, while renewed interest on selected midcap stocks boosted their share prices, brokers said. The benchmark All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed at 3,697.80 points, down 11.33 points, while the Milanka index of more liquid stocks slid 0.60 percent (25.64 points), to close at 4,239.57 points.

Turnover was 1.6 billion rupees.

“The market took an inevitable technical correction after the past few weeks’ rally, but selected midcap shares saw some renewed interest,” Rakshitha Perera, research manager at Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said.

“We perceive volatility as a positive sign, as it gives more trading opportunities to investors.

“With nine month and year-end (financial) results coming out, we advise investors to watch out for companies with strong fundamentals.”

Foreign investors bought 226 million rupees worth of shares and sold 383 million rupees, resulting a net foreign out flow of 157 million rupees, brokers said.

Cargills (Ceylon) closed at 70.75 rupees, up 2.25 with 770,000 shares changing hands, and Cargo Boat Development Company closed at 73.25 rupees, up 4.00.

Ceylon Foreign Traders closed at 31.75 rupees, up 2.00, and Colombo Land & Development Company closed at 6.75 rupees, up 25 cents with 2.88 million shares traded.

Lanka Cement, a retail investor favourite, closed at 30.50 rupees, down 50 cents, and LB Finance closed at 66.50 rupees, up 9.00 with 727,000 shares changing hands.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings closed at 173.00 rupees, down 2.25, and Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, an alcohol producer, closed at 116.00 rupees, down 2.00.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 195.50 rupees, up 50 cents, and Hatton National Bank closed at 176.25 rupees, down 75 cents.

Sampath Bank closed at 225.25 rupees, down 4.00, and Seylan Bank closed at 46.75 rupees, down 1.00.

Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 42.50 rupees, up 50 cents, and Dialog Telekom, a celco, closed at 6.75 rupees, down 25 cents.