Sri Lanka shares down for third straight day

Apr 20, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed slightly weaker Wednesday, down for the third straight day, with heavy trading continuing in the most recently listed firm and in the Aitken Spence group, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 7,474.50, down 0.01 percent (0.66 points) while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.11 percent (7.63 points) to close at 6,937.16, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

Turnover was 1.88 billion rupees.

Free Lanka Capital Holdings, which started trading Monday, fell further on profit-taking to close at 5.50 rupees, down 10 cents with over 19.5 million shares changing hands.

Free Lanka Capital, which had an initial public offering in March of 300 million shares at five rupees each, Wednesday reported a sharp increase in quarterly and annual profit.

There were two privately negotiated off-the-floor deals in shares of the Aitken Spence group and its hotel unit.

A million shares of Aitken Spence was done at 165.50 rupees each. It closed at 167.50, up 2.40. On Tuesday, a million shares of Aitken Spence changed hands in a single crossing at 165.50 each.

There were two crossings of 1,211,000 shares of Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings at 95 rupees a share. The stock closed at 95.20, down 2.80.

There was also heavy trading in MTD Walkers, which has acquired a marine engineering and ship repair firm. The stock closed at 71.70 rupees, up 70 cents.