Sri Lankan stocks up 12.5 pct in the week, rupee stable

May 22, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares were subdued on profit taking Friday after this week’s bull-run following the government’s victory in the war against Tamil Tiger rebels while the rupee remained stable against the greenback, brokers and dealers said.

The spot dollar remained around 114.90/115.10 levels by late afternoon trade after strengthening against the greenback during the week, dealers said.

The All Share Price Index gained 0.20 percent (4.21 points) to end at 2,146.73 while the more liquid Milanka gained 0.34 percent (8.25 points) to close at 2,466.90, according to provisional stock exchange figures.

Turnover was 1.91 billion rupees.

“After sharp gains over the last three trading days there was some profit taking by investors today,” said Geeth Balasuriya, research manager at Acuity Stockbrokers.

“We expect the positive sentiment to continue into the short to medium term.”

Brokers said the main index shot up 12.5 percent during the week which also saw heavy foreign selling.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings (JKH) which has business interest in transport, property development, retailing, food processing and finance businesses, contributed 794.7 million rupees, to the day’s turnover, brokers said.

JKH gained 2.75 rupees to close at 114.00.

“Foreign activity was quite high this week and we expect the trend to continue,” said Balasuriya.

Foreign buying was at 439.0 million rupees, while foreign selling amounted to 1.2 billion, resulting in a net outflow flow of 761.0 million rupees.

Development bank, Development Finance Corporation Ceylon gained 4.25 rupees to close at 115.00.

Broker said 26 million Dialog Telekom shares changed hands. Dialog Telekom, Sri Lanka’s largest cellular operator, and a subsidiary of Telekom Malaysia, closed flat at 5.50 rupees.

National Development Bank gained 1.00 rupee to close at 119.00, while Sri Lanka’s largest privately held bank, Commercial Bank of Ceylon gained 50 cents, to close at 118.25.

Tiger rebels who have been fighting for a sovereign state in the north-east provinces of Sri Lanka for the last 25 years were crushed by the military on Monday.

Army commandos also killed Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his top deputies.

Stocks rallied on the news as investors focused on future company earnings with the war, the main obstacle to economic growth and investment, having ended.