Sri Lankan stocks close up 2.81-pct

July 28, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed at a new high Wednesday, up 2.81 percent from price appreciation on high value and midcap stocks on low volume trading, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 5,139.42, up 140.37 points, while the more liquid Milanka index rose 2.70 percent (152.81 points) to close at 5,822.00, also a record high.

Turnover was 3.0 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

At the end of trade there were 125 gainers and 51 losers, brokers said.

“Activity was seen across the board with participation from institutions, high net worth individuals and retail buying,” said Rakshitha Perera, research manager at Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers.

The Colombo Stock Exchange said in a statement the market capitalization was also at a record high of 1.68 trillion rupees.

The ASPI has gained 1,753.3 points or 51.8 percent for the year 2010 to date while the MPI has gained 1,979.3 points or 51.4 percent for the year to date.

The statement quoted Bloomberg News as saying the performance of the ASPI has made the CSE the second best performing stock exchange in the world for the year 2010 to date.

The CSE was named the second best performing Stock Exchange globally in 2009 as well.

Sri Lanka’s 30-year ethnic war ended in May 2009, resulting in an immediate upturn in the economy and leading to a bull run in stocks.

The economy is expected to grow seven percent this year and company earnings have already improved and are seen increasing further with lower inflation and interest rates.

In Wednesday’s trading Aitken Spence closed at 1,900.00 rupees, up 100.00, Hayleys closed at 320.00 rupees, up 6.50, Hemas Holdings closed at 40.25 rupees, up 2.00 with over two million shares traded and John Keells Holdings, an index heavy stock closed at 249.50 rupees, up 9.50.

Commercial Bank closed at 184.00 rupees, up 2.00, Hatton National Bank closed at 298.00 rupees, up 5.00, Nations Trust Bank closed at 64.00 rupees, up 2.75 with 1.64 million shares traded, Sampath Bank closed at 375.00 rupees, up 9.50 and Seylan Bank closed at 79.75 rupees, up 75 cents.

Brokers said hotel stocks appreciated in price despite low trading volumes.

Confifi Hotel Holdings closed at 240.00 rupees, up 18.50 on 200 shares traded, Hunas Falls Hotel closed at 76.00 rupees, up 3.75 on 9,200 shares traded, Kandy Hotels Company closed at 165.50 rupees, up 3.50 on 1,200 shares traded and Renuka City Hotel closed at 264.00 rupees, up 4.00.

Riverina Hotels closed at 112.00 rupees, up 6.50 with just 20,200 shares traded and Trans Asia Hotel, now rebranded as Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel closed at 325.00 rupees, up 75.00 with 16,400 shares changing hands, brokers said.

In a privately negotiated off-the-floor deal, 7.5 million shares of Dialog Axiata changed hands between 10.50 to 10.75 rupees. It closed at 10.25 rupees, down 25 cents.