Sri Lankan stocks fall as investors take profits

June 22, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed down Monday due to profit taking by retail investors, interrupting the previous week’s bull-run and while John Keells Holdings (JKH) continued to be actively traded, brokers said.

The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index closed down 0.39 percent (9.66 points) to end at 2,447.20 while the Milanka index of liquid stocks lost 0.21 percent (5.69 points) to close at 2,759.13, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 790.8 million rupees.

“The market was going through profit taking, while strategic investors took long term positions in a few blue chip banking sector shares,” Thakshila Hulangamuwa of Asha Phillip Stockbrokers said.

“The market is expected to go through a bit of profit taking in the initial stages of the week.”

Foreign investors were net buyers for 48.0 million rupees, buying 235.0 million worth shares and selling shares valued at 187.0 million rupees, brokers said.

Brokers said 1.38 million JKH shares changed hands between 137.00 and 137.25 rupees.

Conglomerate JKH closed at 137.00 rupees, down one.

Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, a unit of the Stassens Group, closed at 83.75 rupees, down two, while Tokyo Cement closed at 170.00 rupees, down six.

Hatton National Bank, another unit of the Harry Jayawardena controlled Stassens Group, closed flat at 123.75 rupees.

“The present market would maintain a price-earnings (P/E) ratio between 10 to 12 times maximum,” Hulangamuwa said.

Chevron Lubricants Lanka, the Sri Lankan unit of global energy giant Chevron, closed at 121.00 rupees, down three.

Sri Lanka’s largest privately held bank, Commercial Bank of Ceylon, closed 140.00 rupees, up 75 cents.

Index heavy celco Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telekom Malaysia, closed flat at 5.25 rupees, while the dominant fixed line operator Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 49.00 rupees, down 50 cents.

Malwatte Valley Plantations closed at 31.25 rupees, down 75 cents, while Maskeliya Plantations closed at 19.75 rupees, down 75 cents.

Namunukula Plantations closed at 25.75 rupees, down 50 cents.

Talawakelle Tea Estates closed at 27.75 rupees, down 75 cents, while Three Acre Farms closed at 8.75 rupees, down 25 cents.

National Development Bank closed at 154.00 rupees, up 3.25, while Development Finance Corporation of Ceylon closed flat at 140.00 rupees.

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