Sri Lanka shares becalmed, Nawaloka in demand

May 07, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed almost flat Friday with Nawaloka Hospitals heavy traded after it sold a stake in a debt-ridden hotel, and better March quarter earnings boosting investor sentiment, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 4,223.13, up 0.08 percent (3.53 points) while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.09 percent (4.47 points) to close at 4,762.37.

Turnover was almost three billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

Nawaloka Hospitals was the most actively traded stock after it made capital gains of 800 million rupees by selling a stake in the debt-laden Galadari Hotel, brokers said.

Some 35 million shares of Nawaloka Hospitals changed hands with the share closing at 6.75, up 75 cents.

Nawaloka Hospitals’ finances are seen improving after the share sale freed its balance sheet of Galadari Hotel and related financial obligations, brokers said.

“The market turnover remains high despite the easing on the rise of the indices,” said Nikita Tissera, manager – research at SC Securities.

“We’ve seen good results for the March quarter so far and we feel the sentiment could continue with improved earnings. It may not be an across-the-board increase, but select stocks driven by value.”