Sri Lankan stocks up, rupee stable

May 05, (2009) – Sri Lankan shares were boosted by heavy trading in high-value stocks with a foreign fund continuing to sell its stake in National Development Bank (NDB) while the rupee was stable at 119.90/120.10 during late afternoon trading, brokers and dealers said. A source close to the deal said fund manager Raj Rajaratnam’s Galleon Fund was not involved in the transaction.

NDB shares gained 1.50 rupees to close at 92.50.

The All Share Price Index gained 1.30 percent (23.95 points) to end at 1,865.86 while the more liquid Milanka went up 1.54 percent (30.35 points) to close at 2,005.71, according to provisional stock exchange figures.

Turnover was 297.7 million rupees.

“With the valuations improving in most blue chip counters investors are moving back into the market,” said Shivanka Meepage of Acuity Stockbrokers.

A block of 125,000 JKH Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) shares changed hands at 115.00 rupees.

CTC, a subsidiary of global tobacco giant British American Tobacco (BAT), gained 4.00 rupees to close at 120.00.

Distilleries Company gained 3.00 rupees to close at 78.50, while conglomerate John Keells holdings, which has business interests in finance, transport, property development, food processing and retail sectors, gained 1.50 rupees to close 75.50.

A foreign fund, in an off-the-floor deal, sold 1.15 million NDB shares at 90 rupees to a high net worth individual. NDB contributed 113.8 million rupees to the day’s turnover.