Sri Lankan stocks close 1.22-pct down

Mar 03, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed down Wednesday as retail investors took profits ahead of the general elections, while institutional investors took strategic stakes in high valued companies, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 3,774.03, down 46.63 points while the Milanka index of more liquid shares fell 1.61 percent (70.70 points) to close at 4,318.86.

Turnover was almost 1.07 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

“In general the market was negative, but there was interest on selected shares like Chevron Lubricants and Sampath Bank,” Varuna Singappuli, head of research at NDB Stockbrokers said.

Chevron, the Sri Lankan unit of the US-based oil company of the same name, closed at 183.50 rupees, up 9.50 with 450,000 shares traded, brokers said.

National Development Bank closed at 221.50 rupees, up 1.00, and DFCC Bank closed at 178.25 rupees, down 50 cents.

Sampath Bank closed at 240.00 rupees up 2.50, Commercial Bank closed at 194.00 rupees, down 1.00, Hatton National Bank closed flat at 180.00 rupees, Nations Trust Bank closed at 36.50 rupees, down 50 cents, and Seylan Bank closed flat at 46.00 rupees.

Environmental Resources Investments shares dipped after media reports two members of its director board were questioned by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday about the reasons its share price has shot up in recent months.

Environmental Resources ordinary voting shares closed at 224.00 rupees, down 12.50. Its 0000 warrants closed at 145.00 rupees, down 5.00, and 0001 warrants closed at 142.00 rupees, down 8.50.

Brokers said insurance sector companies made gains after Monday’s drop. Amana Takaful closed at 15.25 rupees, up 1.25, Aviva NDB Insurance closed at 211.00 rupees, up 75 cents, Ceylinco Insurance closed at 270.00 rupees, up 5.00 and Janashakthi Insurance closed at 12.50 rupees, up 25 cents.

John Keells Holdings, a conglomerate closed at 168.50 rupees, down 1.50, and Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, an alcohol producer closed at 118.00 rupees, down 25 cents.

Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 36.50 rupees, down 1.50, and Dialog Telekom closed at 7.00 rupees, down 25 cents.