Sri Lankan stocks up, rupee steady

May 14, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares recovered Thursday while the rupee opened at 117.70/90 against the dollar and remained at the same levels by late afternoon trade, brokers and dealers said.

In the stock market the All Share Price Index closed up 0.75 percent (13.97 points) to end at 1,884.42 while the Milanka index of liquid stocks closed flat to end at 2,041.55, according to provisional stock exchange figures.

Turnover was 174.4 million rupees.

“The market was pulled up by blue chip stocks like Distilleries, Hatton National Bank (HNB) and Nestle,” said Dharshi Ganeshan, an analyst from Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers.

“We expect the market stabilize further in the coming days.”

Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka gained two rupees to close at 82.00, while Sri Lanka’s second largest privately held bank, HNB, gained two rupees to close at 94.00.

Nestle Lanka, a subsidiary of Swiss based food giant Nestle, gained six rupees to close at 306 on thin volumes.

“We expect blue chip stocks to perform well along with the occasional profit taking as was seen in the last couple of days,” said Shivantha Meepage of Acuity Stockbrokers.

Brokers said two equal parcels of 834,800 Commercial Bank shares changed hands at 94.75 rupees in a off-the-floor transaction.

Commercial Bank, Sri Lanka’s largest privately held bank, gained 75 cents to close at 94.50.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings (JKH), which has interests in finance, transport, property development, food processing and retail sectors, closed flat at 76.25 rupees.

Eagle Insurance a subsidiary of Aviva Insurance, extended its gains by 4.75 rupees to close at 139.75.

Janashakthi Insurance, whose business operations were suspended for three weeks by the insurance regulator on Tuesday, gained 25 cents to close at 7.25.