Sri Lanka shares end up 1.08-pct

Apr 23, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks climbed further Friday with hotels remaining a favourtie among investors anticipating higher company earnings with an economic recovery after the end of a war and global recession, brokers said. The All Share Price Index closed at 4,121.64, up 1.08 percent (44.09 points) while the more liquid Milanka index rose 0.41 percent (19.05 points) to close at 4,695.83.

Turnover was 1.78 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

Mahaweli Reach Hotels was the day’s highest gainer, ending at 27.75 rupees, up five or 22 percent, with just over a million shares traded.

Loss-making tableware exporter Dankotuwa Porcelain was the second highest gainer, ending at 14.75 rupees, up 2.50 or 20 percent with almost 3.6 million shares traded, following news it was in talks with an investor seeking funds for modernisation.

John Keells Hotels was the second most actively traded stock, ending at 20.75, down 25 cents with 2.7 million shares changing hands.

Nikita Tissera, manager research at SC Securities, said the market’s 12 months’ trailing price to earnings ratio crossed 20 times Thursday.

“Investors should take care to pick value,” he said, noting that the PER was a historical figure and that other markets like Mumbai’s sensex trades at a PER of 22 times and Pakistan’s Karachi index at 19 times.

“We feel the hotels, banking stocks and the conglomerates would be the sectors that would benefit mostly from the economic development,” Tissera said.

“The global economy too is bouncing back and it’s evident from the rise of global rubber prices. Rubber is a key component for tires for automobiles.

“The Colombo auctions too are seeing high prices for rubber grades. We may see a re-rating in the rubber- heavy plantations stocks.”

Brokers said investor confidence remained high given the end of the island’s 30-year ethnic war last May, although they warned that some share prices may have shot up too fast.