Sri Lankan stocks close down

Mar 31, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed down on Tuesday, dragged down by blue chips such as John Keells Holdings (JKH) and National Development Bank (NDB) on low volume trades despite inflation and interest rates coming down, brokers said. Dialog Telekom, a subsidiary of Telekom Malaysia, closed flat at 4.90 rupees.

The All Share Price Index was down 0.40 percent (6.53 points) to end at 1,638.06 while the more liquid Milanka slid 1.00 percent (17.55 points) to close at 1,736.20.
Turnover was 79.5 million rupees.

Conglomerate JKH with 15.1 million rupees and Lanka Cement with 12.5 million were the top contributors to the day’s mediocre turnover.

However JKH shares were down 1.75 rupees to close at 62.50, while Lanka Cement gained 75 cents to close at 11.

“Other than retail interest on JKH and Lanka Cement the market sentiment still remains weak,” said Geeth Balasuriya of Acuity Stockbrokers.

NDB was down eight rupees to close at 89, while Nations Trust Bank (NTB) was down one rupee to close at 23.75.

“With inflation dropping to 5.6 percent today this could result in interest rates dropping further,” said Balasuriya.

“This will improve the attractiveness of the equity market in the short to medium term.”