Sri Lankan stocks up

July 27, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares made further gains Monday as selected blue chips like Commercial Bank, Dialog Telekom and Distilleries pushed indices up, brokers said. People’s Leasing mopped up most of the floating Seylan Merchant Leasing shares on a mandatory offer.

The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed up 1.44 percent (28.39 points) to end at 2,520.14 Monday, while the Milanka index of liquid stocks gained 1.49 percent (41.53 points) to close at 2,834.66, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 658.4 million rupees.

The rupee opened wide at 114.60/90 following International Monetary Fund approval of a loan and uncertainty whether the central bank would allow it to appreciate. It settled at the usual 114.90/95 level.

On Monday there was net foreign selling worth 40.0 million rupees, with foreign investors buying 152.0 million worth shares and selling shares valued at 192.0 million rupees, brokers said.

Brokers said that People’s Leasing in the mandatory share purchase offer of Seylan Merchant Leasing, which ended on July 24, 2009 mopped up 12.69 percent (2.88 million) of shares.

This gives People’s Leasing 97.17 percent of voting rights of Seylan Leasing, analysts said.

“The morning’s strong gains in blue chips stocks were trimmed down due to some profit taking in late afternoon trade,” said Nirodha Bohingamuwa, research analyst at Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers.

“Selected banking stocks made strong gains today.”

Index heavy John Keells Holdings closed at 140.00, up 75 cents, while Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, a unit of Stassens Group closed at 88.00 rupees, up 1.00.

National Development Bank closed at 162.25 rupees, down 25 cents, while Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 145.75 rupees, up 3.00.

Brokers said 519,000 Sampath Bank shares changed hands, while over 25 million Dialog shares also changed hands today. Last Friday 17.0 million Dialog shares changed hands mostly at 5.25 rupees per share.

Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telekom Malaysia closed at 5.50 rupees, up 25 cents, while fixed line giant Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 47.50 rupees, up 50 cents.

Brokers said retailers bought heavily into Dialog Telekom in late afternoon trade.

Lanka Cement trading volumes have been gradually picking up, brokers said. On Monday 2.28 million of its shares changed hands between 32.50 to 38.50 rupees, brokers said.

Lanka Cement closed at 34.00 rupees, down 3.50.