Sri Lankan stocks up 3.22 pct during week, rupee steady

May 29, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares made slight gains Friday as investors were concentrating more on solid small and mid cap stocks, while the rupee was rock steady against greenback, brokers and dealers said.

The spot dollar was trading at 114.90/115.00 levels in late evening trade, dealers said.

The Colombo All Share Price Index gained 0.23 percent (5.17 points) to end at 2,215.96, while the Milanka index of liquid stocks lost 0.24 percent (5.98 points) to close at 2,519.79, according to provisional stock exchange figures.

Turnover was 764.7 million rupees.

“Stocks settled down today on profit taking, but we expect it to turn positive next week,” said Geeth Balasuriya of Acuity Stockbrokers.

“We could see investors looking more closely at mid and small cap stocks in the coming weeks.”

Brokers said 2.19 million shares of Dialog Telekom, a subsidiary of Telekom Malaysia changed hands mostly at 5.50 rupees.

Dialog closed flat at 5.50 rupees.

Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, the highest contributor to the day’s turnover, lost two rupees to close at 90.75.

Brokers said investors were nervous about the pending court case against Distilleries’ acquisitions of state-owned Sri Lanka Insurance and were selling to re-invest on a bullish market.

Distilleries lost 2.25 rupees to close at 90.75.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings gained one rupee to close at 115.25.

“Foreigners were on the selling side during the best part of the last few weeks,” said Balasuriya.

Foreign buying was at 244 million rupees, while the foreign selling amounted to 183 million, resulting a net inflow of 61.0 million rupees, brokers said.

Sri Lanka’s largest privately held bank, Commercial Bank of Ceylon gained 25 cents to close at 127.25 on active trading, while National Development Bank lost two rupees to close at 120.00.

Lanka Indian Oil Company a unit of Indian Oil lost 1.25 rupees to close at 18.50 on weak March quarter corporate results due to hedging losses.

“The market has gained 47 percent for the year. Now we could see a slow down as most of the bargain counters have been snapped up,” said Balasuriya.

Sri Lanka Telecom closed flat at 41.75 rupees.