Sri Lankan stocks close 0.33-pct down

Mar 23, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed down Tuesday as retail investors continued to stay on the sidelines, while private deal on John Keells Holdings (JKH) pushed turnover past a billion rupees, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 3,730.67, down 12.33 points, while the Milanka index of more liquid shares dipped 0.08 percent (3.48 points) to close at 4,321.06.

Turnover was 1.2 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

“Overall it was another dull day of trading,” Thakshila Hulangamuwa, at stock brokering firm Asha Phillip Securities said.

“Apart from the large volume of JKH shares trading in the market, general participation retail investors was minimal.”

Brokers said JKH, a conglomerate closed flat at 170.00 rupees, with 4.36 million shares changing hands between 170.00 to 172.00 rupees on a privately negotiated off-the-floor deal.

Raigam Wayamba Salterns’ initial public offer of 80 million shares at 2.50 rupees a share had been oversubscribed on the opening day Tuesday, a stock exchange filling said.

The company sought to raise 200 million rupees to expand production at its salterns and make high value table salt.

Aitken Spence closed at 1,386.00 rupees, down 4.00, and Hayleys closed at 225.00 rupees, down 25 cents.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 191.50 rupees, up 1.25, Hatton National Bank closed flat at 180.00 rupees, Nations Trust Bank closed at 36.25 rupees, up 25 cents and Seylan Bank closed at 46.50 rupees, down 25 cents.

National Development Bank closed at 213.50 rupees, down 1.50, with 400,000 shares changing hands at 212.50 rupees on a private deal, and DFCC Bank closed flat at 178.50 rupees.

Retailer favorites Lanka Cement closed at 28.00 rupees, up 25 cents, and Touchwood Investment, a forestry company closed at 100.50 rupees, down 50 cents.

Sri Lanka Telecom, a fixed line operator closed at 36.00 rupees, down 50 cents, and Dialog Telecom, a celco closed flat at 7.25 rupees.

There were 41 gainers and 82 losers on Tuesday, brokers said.