Sri Lankan stocks close 0.55-pct down

Dec 14, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed down Monday as retail investors stayed away owing to political uncertainty, while a large tranche of Asiri Hospital and John Keells Holdings (JKH) shares boosted market volumes, brokers said.

The All Share Price Index closed at 3,039.78 down 0.55 percent (16.86 points) while the Milanka Price Index of more liquid stocks closed at 3,446.48, down 0.92 percent (32.14 points).

Turnover was 330.9 million rupees, according to provisional Colombo Stock Exchange statistics.

“The uncertainty in the political front is keeping investors at bay,” Nikita Tissera, research manager at SC Securities said.

“We expect investor appetite to significantly improve after the presidential elections.”

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings closed at 154.00 rupees, down 1.00 with 815,000 shares changing hands, and Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka closed at 97.25 rupees, down 1.75.

Asiri Hospitals closed at 10.25 rupees, down 25 cents with almost 2.0 million shares changing hands, brokers said.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 174.00 rupees, down 1.25, DFCC Bank closed at 150.25 rupees, down 1.75, Hatton National Bank closed flat at 165.00 rupees, and Sampath Bank closed at 188.50 rupees, down 25 cents.

Sri Lanka’s largest fixed line operator Sri Lanka Telecom closed flat at 43.50 rupees.

Bogala Graphite said in a stock exchange filing that its plan to issue shares to its main German shareholder to set off debt was approved an at extraordinary general meeting on December 12, 2009.

Bogala Graphite will issue 7.58 million ordinary shares at 19.75 rupees a share to Graphit Kropfmuhl AG as payment to set-off 149.8 million rupees worth of debt.