Sri Lankan stocks close flat as buyers take stock of earnings

Aug 13, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed flat on Thursday as retail investors recovered from a spate of weak earnings the June quarter, while plantation stocks that had exposure to tea picked up in price, brokers said.

The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed up 0.08 percent (1.95 points) to end at 2,510.81, while the Milanka index of liquid stocks gained 0.04 percent (1.05 points) to close at 2,843.59, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 293.6 million rupees.

On Thursday there were net foreign outflows worth 2.4 million rupees, with foreign investors buying 56.0 million worth shares and selling shares valued at 58.4 million rupees, brokers said.

“The market stabilized today after yesterday’s poor performance, especially the blue chip stocks,” Shivantha Meepage of Acuity Stockbrokers said.

“Poor June quarter earnings in key high value companies slowed down market momentum.

“However investors will look at the second half earnings more favorably due to recent economic developments such as lower interest rates and postwar economic growth prospects.”

Ceylinco Seylan Developers closed at 10.00 rupees, down 75 cents with 1.06 million shares traded, while Piramal Glass closed flat at 1.70 rupees, with 1.14 million shares traded.

Index-heavy conglomerate John Keells Holdings closed at 129.75 rupees, down 0.25, while Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, a unit of unlisted tea company Stassens closed flat at 86.00 rupees.

Ceylon Tobacco Company, a unit of British American Tobacco closed at 141.75 rupees, up 1.75, while Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 141.50 rupees, down 1.25, after reporting flat earnings yesterday.

Chevron Lubricants Lanka, a unit of US-based Chevron closed at 132.00 rupees, up 1.00, while Tokyo Cement closed at 153.00 rupees, up 3.00.

National Development Bank closed flat at 167.00, while retailer favorite Lanka Cement closed at 30.75 rupees, down 75 cents.

Fixed line operator Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 42.00 rupees, up 25 cents, while Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telekom Malaysia closed flat at 5.75 rupees.

Dialog June quarter results are expected to be released tomorrow, brokers said.

Mining company Bogala Graphite Lanka said it had acquired unlisted Fair Deal Trading (Private) Limited to transport of graphite from the Bogala mines to the Colombo Port.

Bogala Graphite closed at 19.00 rupees, down 1.00.

Plantation sector stocks are picking up due to strong tea prices, brokers said.

Balangoda Planations closed at 22.75 rupees, up 25 cents, Elpitiya Plantations close at 55.50 rupees, up 50 cents, Kahawatte Plantations closed at 30.00 rupees, up 50 cents, while Kegalle Plantations closed flat at 34.00 rupees.

Kotagala Plantations closed at 29.75 rupees, up 75 cents, while Malwatte Valley Plantations closed at 30.50 rupees, up 50 cents.