Sri Lanka banks gain as stocks hit new high

Dec 21, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka stocks closed at a new high Monday, up 1.43 percent, with banks drawing interest as retail investors re-entered the market, gaining confidence from last few week’s foreign trading, brokers said. The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed up 1.43 percent (45.46 points) to end at 3,234, while the Milanka index of liquid stocks gained 1.62 percent (58.80 points) to close at 3,689.28, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 1.0 billion rupees.

Investors are looking for bargains ahead of the presidential election, brokers said.

Hatton National Bank closed at 169.25 rupees, down 50 cents with almost 2.0 million shares changing hands today. Commercial Bank closed at 188.25 rupees, up 3.50 and Sampath Bank closed at 202.00 rupees, up 3.50.

National Development Bank closed at 206.00 rupees, up 1.00, and DFCC Bank closed at 163.00 rupees, up 3.00.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings closed at 162.25 rupees, up 1.75, and alcohol manufacturer Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, a unit of unlisted Stassens controlled by business tycoon Harry Jayawardena closed at 105.25 rupees, up 3.25.

Sri Lanka’s largest celco Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telekom Malaysia closed flat at 7.00 rupees, and fixed line operator Sri Lankan Telecom closed flat at 44.00 rupees.