Sri Lankan stocks down, rupee steady

May 25, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares Monday shed some of the gains of last week’s bull-run owing to profit taking and concern over poor corporate results, while the rupee remained rock-steady against the dollar, brokers and dealers said. Sri Lanka’s largest privately held bank, Commercial Bank of Ceylon lost 1.50 rupees to close at 115.50, while National Development Bank lost 2.50 rupees to close at 115.00 in heavy trading.

Foreign buying was at 403.9 million rupees, while foreign selling amounted to 457.7 million rupees, resulting in a net outflow flow of 53.8 million rupees.

Brokers said they expect foreign participation to be high in the coming days.

In late afternoon trade the spot dollar was quoted at 114.90/95 levels and held steady after opening at the same levels, dealers said.

The All Share Price Index slid 1.22 percent (26.10 points) to end at 2,120.63 while the more liquid Milanka lost 1.75 percent (43.14 points) to close at 2,423.76, according to provisional stock exchange figures.

Turnover was 1.01 billion rupees.

“Stocks fell down on weak corporate results and profit taking,” said Thakshila Hulangamuwa from stock brokering firm Asha Phillip Securities.

“Even though the market was going through profit taking notable high net worth and retail buying was witnessed.”

Monday’s slide followed sharp gains last week after a military victory over Tamil Tiger rebels ended a 25-year ethnic war that analysts said could eventually revive the economy and with it corporate earnings.

The Liberation of Tamil Tigers Elam leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, who lead the war against the Sri Lankan government for a separate Tamil state in the north and east, was killed in a commando raid on his bunker on May 18, 2009, state media reported.

Following news of his death the benchmark ASI gained 12.5 percent at the end trading last week.

The government has officially declared the end of hostilities that plagued the Sri Lankan economy for almost three decades and cost over 100,000 lives, according to an estimate done by the United Nations.

Brokers said a 7.7 million parcel of Dialog shares changed hands at 5.50 rupee.

Sri Lanka’s largest celco, Dialog Telekom, a subsidiary of Telekom Malaysia contributed 259.0 million rupees to the day’s turnover. Dialog closed flat at 5.50 rupees.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings lost 2.35 rupees to close at 110.00.