Sri Lanka stocks close down 0.16-pct

Dec 21, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks slipped further Wednesday in a continuing slide in thin turnover with the regulator postponing an anticipated decision to allow brokers to give more credit for trading, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.16 percent (9.11 points) to 5,842.83, while the more liquid Milanka index closed flat at 5,088.25.

Turnover was a low 376 million rupees, one of the lowest in recent months, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

Transactions in index heavyweight John Keells Holdings accounted for the biggest turnover of the day.

John Keells Holdings closed 2.70 rupees higher at 170 with 515,500 shares traded, including the sole crossing or off-market private deal for the day of 474,000 shares at 170 each.

Swarnamahal Financial Services was the most actively traded stock, closing at 92 rupees, down 4.20, with 471,300 shares done, accounting for the second highest turnover.

PC House was also actively traded, closing 40 cents lower at 12 rupees.

United Motors Lanka was also heavily traded, closing down three rupees at 140 rupees.

The market has been sliding for several weeks after hitting record highs for two successive years following the end of the island’s 30-year ethnic war in 2009.

Brokers have been pressing the regulator to lift restrictions on credit which analysts said had helped fire the credit-driven stock market bubble that regulators feared could destabilise the system if not controlled.

But the Securities and Exchange Commission has deferred a decision until early next year.