Sri Lankan stocks marginally up, rupee stable

May 19, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares ended marginally up Tuesday, recovering from early losses on confirmation that Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was dead, while the rupee remained stable against the greenback, brokers and dealers said. The government later announced that a DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) test had confirmed the slain Tiger leader’s identity and also showed his body on television.

Brokers said conglomerate John Keells Holdings (JKH) was heavily traded contributing 401.1 million rupees to the day’s turnover.

National Development Bank (NDB), which was also actively traded, contributed 647.9 million rupees.

Market sources said a foreign fund was selling stakes in JKH and NDB.

JKH gained 3.50 rupees to close at 95.50, while NDB gained 1.50 rupees to close at 98.50.

Sri Lanka’s largest privately held bank, Commercial Bank of Ceylon, gained 4.50 rupees to close at 104.50.

The spot US dollar remained stable at 114.95/115.10 levels during late afternoon trade.

The All Share Price Index (ASPI) of the Colombo stock exchange rose 0.23 percent (4.69 points) to close at 2,035.59, while the Milanka index (MPI) of liquid stocks shot up 1.10 percent (24.43 points), to close at 2,254.70

Turnover was 1.61 billion rupees.

“After yesterday’s sharp gains investors are taking some profits,” said Geeth Balasuriya, research manager of Acuity Stockbroker.

Brokers said foreign buying was at 519.9 million rupees, while foreign selling amounted to 975.8 million, resulting in a net outflow of 455.9 million rupees.

On Monday, the ASPI shot up by 6.5 percent to close at 2,030.90 points after a final army assault killed remaining Tamil Tiger rebel leaders, including its chief Prabhakaran.

But subsequent Tiger claims Prabhakaran was still alive created uncertainty.