Sri Lanka shares end up 0.49-pct

Apr 12, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed firmer Monday with some large deals done while activity petered off towards the end of trading ahead of a long holiday this week although sentiment remained positive, brokers said. “Investors are placing buy orders but at lower levels compared to prevailing prices.”

There were several large deals in conglomerates and banks, brokers said.

Three large deals in shares of Finlays Colombo amounting to just over 2.3 million shares – or a 6.7 percent stake – were done at 150 rupees, 105 lower than the previous closing price of 255 rupees.

The stock closed at 211.25 rupees, down 43.75, or 17 percent, suffering the day’s biggest fall in price.

Altogether 2.3 million shares of Finlay, a somewhat illiquid share, were traded.

There were also large deals in John Keells Holdings, Commercial Bank, Sampath Bank, Ceylon Theatres and Keells Hotels.

To receive instant alerts from LBO on your Dialog mobile type ‘lbo’ and send to 678

The All Share Price Index closed at 3,958.78, up 0.49 percent (19.16 points) while the more liquid Milanka index rose 0.39 percent (17.57 points) to close at 4,542.56.

Turnover was 1.8 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

“Sentiment was positive but activity remained low owing to the holidays,” said Rakshitha Perera, research manager at Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers.

“Volumes were a bit thin although some institutional participation was evident.”

The markets are closed Tuesday and Wednesday because of traditional New Year festivities when many investors and traders take a long break.

It follows parliamentary polls last week in which the ruling alliance won easily and increased its parliamentary majority.

Perera said most retail investors appeared to be watching the market with some having placed buy orders at prices lower than prevailing prices.