Sri Lankan stocks close down 0.7-pct

Feb 12, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed down 0.7 percent with institutional investors still waiting in the sidelines awaiting lower interest rates, though some foreign buying was seen, brokers said.

Aitkin Spence Hotels gained two rupees to close at 100. Touchwood Investment gained 1.25 rupees to close at 64.50.

The Colombo All Share Price Index ended down 12.54 points at 1,749.39 while the Milanka index of liquid stocks lost 1.42 percent (26.84 points) to close at 1,857.85.

“Larger investors are still not in the market,” an analyst said. “When interest rates come down further we may see institutional investors. The rally so far has been driven by retailers.”

Turnover was 106.5 million rupees. Brokers say foreign investors bought 48 million rupees of stocks while selling only 1.3 million rupees worth.

John Keells Holdings, a foreign favourite, closed up 2.25 at 65.25.

Chemanex one of the largest movers for the day, gained 4.75 rupees to close at 46.75 following dividend declaration of 6.00 rupees.

Ceylinco Insurance slipped 25 cents, to close at 173.25

Sri Lanka Telecom was down 25 cents to close at 35.75, while index-heavy Dialog Telekom also lost 25 cents and closed at 5.00 rupees.