Sri Lankan stocks close up

Feb 16, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed marginally up Monday driven by retail interest on the construction sector, as news of the war coming to a close highlighted the prospects of new development contracts, brokers said. He anticipated that the indices would try to consolidate at the present levels with investors hoping for some positive signals from the government, which along with the lower interest rates could convince more players to look at alternative options in equities.

Chemanex was up 2.50 rupees, to close at 49.50.

Index heavy conglomerate John Keells was down 1.50 rupees, to close at 64.

Commercial Bank gained 25 cents, to close at 92. Hatton National Bank (HNB) gained five rupees on thin volumes to close at 90. HNB declared a three rupee dividend Monday.

Fixed line giant Sri Lankan Telecom was up 25 cents, to close at 35.25, while cellular giant Dialog Telekom closed five rupees flat.

Lanka Indian Oil Corporation was up 25 cents, to close at 19.

Foreign buying was at 7.4 million rupees, while foreign selling amounted to 10.7 rupees.

The All Share Price Index ended up 0.22 percent (3.84 points) at 1,751.98 while the more liquid Milanka gained 0.24 percent (4.41 points) to close at 1,871.18.

Turnover was 64.5 million rupees.

“In the past few weeks the market was driven on retail participation,” said Thakshila Hulangamuwa, vice president business development at Asha Phillip Securities.

“People are looking at counters that are still discounted in terms of book value, and would have faster reaction at a point the economy falls on to a proper track.”

Lanka Cement was up 75 cents, to close at 14.50, while Tokyo Cement also was up 75 cents, to close at 11.75.

Ceylinco Seylan Development was up one rupee, to close at eight. It contributed 14 million rupees to the day’s turnover.

“With the increase of the prices the margin calls have eased-off that prevented market players from forced selling,” said Hulangamuwa.