Shares prices close flat; rupee steadies against the U.S. dollar

July 4, 2006 (LBO) – Shares prices in Colombo closed flat Tuesday on lackluster trade awhile the Sri Lankan rupee gained marginally against the dollar, dealers said. The wider All Share Price Index crept up 0.01 percent or 0.22 points to 2,113.15 on volumes of 6.7 million shares worth 141.42 million rupees.

Among the gainers were Asian Cotton Mills, which rose 6.2 percent to 69.00 rupees on news that the firm was writing back 122 million rupees owed to the banks, following a government directive to restructure debts of textile firms.

The news helped lift shares of Kuruwita Textile, which jumped 11.9 percent to 47.50 rupees after announcing they were writing back 117.99 million rupees.

Other notable trades came from conglomerate John Keells Holdings, which closed flat 131.75 rupees, while market move Dialog Telekom was also flat at 20.00 rupees.

Shares of Royal Ceramics rose 3.7 percent to 2.80 rupees on retail interest after the firm announced plans to build a new floortile plant at a cost of a billion rupees.

The 25-tracker Milanka Price Index slipped 0.01 percent or 0.30 points to end at 2,726.74.

On the foreign exchange market, the rupee edged up to close at 103.99 against the greenback from Monday’s close of 104.00 rupees on thin volumes.

Dealers said state bank sold some dollars in the market which helped offset demand for the U.S. unit by importers to settle trade bills.

Call rates in brokers market was steady at 11.00 percent with the money market still carrying a shortfall of around 231 million rupees. Secondary bond yields were mostly flat in thin trade with one year treasuries going at 11.00 percent and three-year notes at 11.30 percent.

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