Sri Lankan stocks close up 0.84-pct

July 15, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed higher Thursday from price gains on manufacturing, hotel, hospital and banking shares, while retail investors continued to trade on speculative ‘penny’ stocks, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 4,638.71, up 38.49 points, while the Milanka index of more liquid shares rose 0.99 percent (51.11 points) to close at 5,232.31.

Turnover was 2.1 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

“We saw dominant retailer and institutional activity in the market headed by strong gains on John Keells Holdings (JKH) shares,” Nikita Tissera, research manager at stock brokering house SC Securities said.

JKH closed at 211.00 rupees, up 5.00 with almost 1.7 million shares changing hands, Aitken Spence closed flat at 1,600.00 rupees, Hayleys closed at 300.75 rupees, up 25 cents and Hemas Holdings closed at 35.75 rupees, down 75 cents.

Ceylon Tobacco Company closed at 325.00 rupees, up 10.75, and Chevron Lubricants closed at 161.00 rupees, down 2.00.

Commercial Bank closed at 179.00 rupees, up 1.00, Hatton National Bank at 281.25 rupees, up 2.50, Nations Trust Bank closed at 56.50 rupees, up 1.50, Sampath Bank closed at 339.75 rupees, down 25 cents and Seylan Bank closed at 78.25 rupees, down 75 cents.

DFCC Bank closed at 254.00 rupees, up 4.00 and National Development Bank closed at 240.25 rupees, down 2.50.

There was significant investor interest for hotel stocks, brokers said.

John Keells Hotels closed at 19.50 rupees, up 50 cents with 1.42 million shares changing hands, Marawila Resorts closed at 12.00 rupees, up 25 cents, Hotel Reefcomber closed at 4.10 rupees, up 10 cents, Ceylon Hotels Corporation at 36.75 rupees, up 2.00 with 6.7 million shares traded and Aitken Spence Hotel closed at 430.25 rupees, up 9.25.

Brokers said investor interest on selected stocks from the manufacturing and hospital sectors also helped the market go up.

Dankotuwa Porcelain closed at 51.00 rupees, up 4.00 with 3.8 million shares changing hands, and Lanka Tiles closed at 100.50 rupees, down 12.25 with 2.0 million shares traded.

Nawaloka Hospitals closed at 8.00 rupees, down 25 cents with 8.0 million shares traded, brokers said.

Retailers despite the high volatility continued to trade penny stocks, brokers said.

Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka closed flat at 1.70 rupees with 5.6 million shares traded, Muller and Phipps closed at 1.30 rupees, down 1.00, Piramal Glass Ceylon closed at 3.10 rupees, up 10 cents and Sierra Cables closed at 3.70 rupees, down 10 cents.