Sri Lankan stocks close 0.34-pct higher

Jan 22, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka stocks closed 0.3 percent higher Friday as investors awaited presidential polls on January 26 and December quarter results also started to trickle in, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 3,531.73, up 12.02 points, while the Milanka index of more liquid stocks slipped 0.10 percent (3.93 points) to close at 4,044.83.

Turnover was 1.67 billion rupees.

“The heat of the election is holding the market with no direction,” Thakshila Hulangamuwa, vice president at stock brokering form Asha Phillip Securities said.

“This might be the same situation till the final result of the presidential election is announced.

“However if the market drops post election results it is expected to recover in the midterm due to easing of credit.”

Sri Lanka’s Lankem group has gained control of C W Mackie with a Danish and local shareholder exiting in a 700 million rupee deal, brokers said.

Denmark based Aarhus United A/S sold a 30.09 stake in CW Mackie and Ceylon Trading Company, a locally incorporated firm sold further 26.47 percent stake in a 712 million deal at 35 rupees a share.

December quarter earnings have also started to come in. First Capital Holdings reported profits of 263.7 million rupees, up from 15.5 million a year earlier. Its stock closed 22 rupees higher at 63 rupees.

Companies with bond holdings made unusually large profits in 2009 with a steep fall in interest rates.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings closed at 173.75 rupees, down 50 cents, and Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka closed at 115.75 rupees, up 1.00.

Commercial Bank closed at 185.00 rupees, down 3.75 cents, Hatton National Bank closed flat at 171.75 rupees, Nations Trust Bank closed at 38.50 rupees, up 50 cents, Sampath Bank closed at 217.00 rupees, down 3.00 and Seylan Bank closed at 38.50 rupees, up 50 cents.

Celco Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telekom Malaysia closed flat at 6.75 rupees, and fixed line operator Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 43.00 rupees, up 25 cents.