Sri Lankan stocks down 1.34-pct

July 09, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares continued to slide Thursday as retail investors, key drivers of the market in the last six weeks, were forced to sell, brokers said.

The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index closed down 1.34 percent (31.74 points) to end at 2,344.48 on Thursday, while the Milanka index of liquid stocks lost 1.46 percent (38.81 points) to close at 2,628.38, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 165.8 million rupees.

Thakshila Hulangamuwa, vice president business development at Asha Phillip Securities, attributed the market’s fall to retail selling.

“We expect the market to improve in the medium to short term with interest rates going down and improving signs of an International Monetary Fund stand-by loan coming through.”

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings closed at 129.75 rupees, down 2.75.

Brokers said some of the retail investors had taken losses in the last few days of trading.

Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 46.00 rupees, down 50 cents, while celco Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telekom Malaysia closed flat at 5.25 rupees.

“More international fund managers are now showing interest in investing in the market,” Hulangamuwa said.

“Foreign investments will help the market to move to the next level.”

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 129.25 rupees, down 1.25, while Hatton National Bank closed at 118.00 rupees, down 50 cents.

National Development Bank closed at 154.00 rupees, down 2.00, while DFCC Bank closed at 127.50 rupees, down 3.50.

Sampath Bank closed at 106.00 rupees, down 25 cents.

Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka closed at 84.75 rupees, down 1.25.

Tokyo Cement closed at 148.00 rupees, down 2.25, while diversified Hayleys closed at 130.00 rupees, down 2.00.

The spot dollar remained unchanged at 114.90/95 rupees in late afternoon trade, dealers said.