Sri Lanka shares soar to record high, foreigners sell

Oct 05, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed at a record high Monday with foreign investors being net sellers, brokers said.

The All Share Price Index (ASPI) was up 2.66 percent (80.23 points) to end at 3,098.24 while the Milanka index of more liquid stocks gained 3.36 percent (113.91 points) to close at 3,508.77, according to provisional stock exchange figures.

The market broke the previous intra-trade record of 3038.48 points achieved on February 19, 2007 as certain foreign institutional funds bought heavily into blue chips, brokers said.

“The market’s recent optimism attracted some funds that were inactive in recent times,” Nikita Tissera, research manager at stock brokering house SC Securities said.

“Dialog Telekom attracted a lot of attention at both, retail and institutional levels.”

Brokers said 11.5 million shares of celco Dialog Telekom shares changed hands. It closed at 8.50 rupees, up 1.50, while fixed line operator Sri Lanka Telecom closed 46.25 rupees, up 1.25.

The total market turnover for the day was 1.06 billion rupees.

Analysts said the small nature of the market with a turnover of around 10 million dollars made it easy for big investors to move the market.

“Certain specific shares are being pushed up by speculators,” said an analyst.

Some of them were believed to be Sri Lankan investors with foreign accounts.

Index heavy conglomerate John Keells Holdings (JKH) closed flat at 154.00 rupees, while Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka closed at 91.00 rupees, up 1.75.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 179.00 rupees, up 2.75, while National Development Bank closed at 192.50 rupees, up 1.75.

Sampath Bank closed at 182.25 rupees, up 2.75, while DFCC Bank closed flat at 153.00 rupees.

Chevron Lubricants Lanka Limited closed at 179.50 rupees, up 14.50, while Ceylon Tobacco Company, the Sri Lankan unit of British American Tobacco closed at 183.00 rupees, down 2.00.

There was a net foreign outflow of 92.2 million rupees worth of shares today as foreigners sold 230.4 million rupees and bought 138.2 million rupees, brokers said.

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