Sri Lankan stocks up 2.4-pct

June 18, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks extended gains Thursday closing up 2.4 percent with heavy trading on conglomerate John Keells Holdings (JKH) and financial sector companies activating the market, brokers said.

The market has grown 59.9 perecent year to date, brokers said.

The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index closed up 2.41 percent (56.54 points) to end at 2,399.46 while the Milanka index of liquid stocks gained 3.56 percent (93.20 points) to close at 2,711.28, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 2.0 billion rupees.

“The market was driven with healthy participation from retail, corporate and high net worths investors,” Thakshila Hulangamuwa of Asha Philip Securities, said.

“Overall inflow of foreign funds to the market signifies a bright future.”

Brokers said 865 million rupees worth JKH shares traded at prices between 130.00 and 137.00 rupees. JKH closed at 137.25 rupees, up 9.00.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 135.50 rupees, up 6.50, while National Development Bank closed at 145.50 rupees, up 10.25.

Development Finance Corporation of Sri Lanka closed at 135.00 rupees, up 6.75. Sampath Bank closed at 114.00 rupees, up 1.00.

Investors traded 108 million rupees worth Aitken Spence shares. Aitken Spence closed at 630.00 rupees, up 30.00.

Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, a unit of the Stassens Group controlled by business magnate Harry Jayawardena closed 81.50 rupees, up 50 cents.

“In the medium term the market would stay strong and would look at 2,500 levels on the ASI to stabilize and settle its cracks,” Hulangamuwa, said.

Brokers said 3.36 million Sierra Cables share changed hands. Sierra Cables closed at 1.70 rupees, up 20 cents.

Index heavy, Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 47.25 rupees, up 2.50, while celco giant Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telekom Malaysia closed flat at 5.50 rupees.

Eagle Insurance closed at 139.50 rupees, up 7.50, while Ceylinco Housing and Real Estate Company closed at 16.75 rupees, up 3.75 on high volume trading.

Foreign investors were net buyers for 56.0 million rupees, buying 791.0 million worth shares and selling shares valued at 735.0 million rupees, brokers said.

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