Sri Lanka high-value shares draw interest

Nov 20, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed virtually flat on Thursday with high-value stocks like John Keells Holdings drawing interest, brokers and analysts said.

The Colombo All Share Price Index fell 0.33 percent (5.74 points) to end at 1,1711.78 while the Milanka index of liquid stocks fell 0.01 percent (0.23 points) to 1,927.21.

Turnover was 203.6 million rupees.

“Relative to regional markets the bourse performed well today with institutional activity seen on selected high value stocks such as JKH,” says Dihan Dedigama of Asia Securities.

Analysts say high domestic interest rates, political uncertainty and falling international commodity prices are contributing to the market’s poor performance.

JKH transactions contributed 95 million rupees to the day’s turnover, while Hemas Holdings and Lanka Lubricants contributed 17 million and 12 million rupees.

Foreigners were on the selling side, with buying of only six million rupees and foreign sales of 18 million, with a net outflow of 11.96 million, Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said.

Kelani Valley Plantations shares gained six rupees to close at 52, Central Finance went up 4.50 to close at 164.75, and Aitkin Spence was up three at 318.

Hatton National Bank fell two rupees to close at 80 and Asiri Hospitals gained three rupees to close at 49.

Palm oil company Selinsing fell 69 rupees to close at 140, Palm Gardens Hotel was down 8.75 at 75 and Kelani Cables slid six rupees to close at 56.

Corrected – clarifying foreign trading