Sri Lankan stocks fall in thin trading on earnings fears

May 13, 2008 (LBO) – Most Sri Lankan shares lost value Tuesday in thin trading with investors apparently worried that corporate earnings could be hit by high inflation and interest rates, brokers said. The Colombo Stock Exchange All Share Index fell 1.04 percent (27.35 points) to 2,613.89 and the more liquid Milanka Index was down 1.39 percent (44.93 points) at 3,179.74 points.

The total turnover was 163 million rupees.

“Investors are worried about corporate earnings,” said Geeth Balasuriya of HNB Stockbrokers.

“It’s not very aggressive selling. Just that investors are uncertain. Some are taking profits ahead of corporate earnings while others are adopting a wait-and-see attitude.”

That attitude accounts for trading to dry up to today’s levels from that a few weeks ago.

Balasuriya said most investors expect corporate earnings to come down with inflation raging at 25 percent and interest rates remaining high.

“The market is not expecting any surprise earnings from these stocks.”

Some plantations stocks moved up Tuesday after Kelani Valley reported strong first quarter earnings growth, mainly on the back of high tea prices.

Investors sold plantations stocks earlier in the month after they were spooked by the lower quarterly earnings of one or two of the first few firms to report their performance.

Dialog Telekom lost 25 cents to end at 15 rupees while Sri Lanka Telecom ended flat at 48.75 rupees.

John Keells Holdings lost 50 cents to end at 117.

Ceylon Theatres fell 5.49 percent or 3.75 rupees to 64.50 while subsidiary Cargills (Ceylon) fell one rupee to 51.25. .