Sri Lankan stocks close down 0.93-pct

Nov 20, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed down Friday as retail investors continued to take defensive positions after speculation of tainted fund manager, Raj Rajaratnam divesting Commercial Bank stake, brokers said. DFCC Bank closed at 148.00 rupees, up 3.00, and National Development Bank closed at 180.00 rupees, up 1.00.

Fixed line operator Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 41.25 rupees, down 1.00, and celco Dialog Telekom closed at 7.00 rupees, down 25 cents.

Hotel sector stocks, Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings closed at 223.75 rupees, down 3.75, Amaya Leisure 48.25 rupees, down 1.50, Sigiriya Village 37.00 rupees, down 25 cents, Taj Lanka Hotels 20.50 rupees, down 75 cents.

Ceylon Brewery closed flat at 80.00 rupees with over 1.0 million shares changing hands, brokers said.

Retailer favorites Lanka Cement closed at 22.75 rupees, down 75 cents, Touchwood Investment closed flat at 80.25 rupees.

The All Share Price Index closed at 2,933.34, down 0.93 percent (27.43 points) while the Milanka Price Index of more liquid stocks closed at 3,333.56, lost 0.83 percent (27.88 points).

Turnover was 580.8 million rupees, according to provisional Colombo Stock Exchange statistics.

“Investors are overacting to Raj Rajaratnam selling some of his holdings in the market,” Angelo Ranasinghe of Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said.

“The economic climate is getting better and any investor with holding power for over six months will get rewarded. The key here is being able to invest and profit, not making money overnight.”

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings closed flat at 143.00 rupees, and Distilleries Company of Sri Lankan closed at 91.50 rupees, down 50 cents.

Brokers said Rajaratnam was continuing to sell his holdings of blue Commercial Bank of Ceylon.

Commercial Bank closed at 175.75, down 25 cents with over 1.4 million shares changing hands today, and Hatton National Bank closed at 168.50 rupees, up 50 cents.