Sri Lankan stocks close 0.97-pct down on retail profit taking

Jan 18, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed lower Monday as retailers took profits, while Hatton National Bank (HNB) and DFCC Bank sold out of Lanka Ventures to Acuity Partners, an investment bank, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 3,528.55, down 0.97 percent (34.59 points while the Milanka index of more liquid stocks gained 0.62 percent (25.26 points) to close at 4,074.02.

Turnover was 1.72 billion rupees.

“The day’s turnover was dominated by the Lanka Venture deal,” Nikita Tissera, research manager at stock brokering firm SC Securities said.

“Some of retail favorites of the last two weeks were seen losing investor favour. We look forward to December quarter earnings for some much needed market direction.”

Over 39 million Lanka Ventures shares were changed hands today mostly at 18.00 rupees per share, brokers said.

DFCC Bank sold 29.11 million shares (58.23 percent) to Acuity Partners, while HNB transferred 10 million shares (20 percent) at 18.00 rupees per share, brokers said.

HNB closed at 175.00 rupees, down 25 cents, DFCC Bank closed at 166.50 rupees, down 1.00.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed flat at 193.00, Sampath Bank closed at 215.00 rupees, down 2.25, Seylan Bank closed at 38.75 rupees, down 25 cents, and National Development Bank closed at

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings closed at 177.50 rupees, down 1.0, and Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka 117.50 rupees, down 1.00 rupees.

Brokers said 1.56 million shares of Nation Lanka Finance closed at 16.50 rupees, down 3.50, and Renuka Agri Foods closed at 3.40 rupees, up 10 cents with 1.76 million traded.

Fixed line operator Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 43.50 rupees, up 50 cents, and celco Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telekom Malaysia closed flat at 6.75 rupees.