Sri Lanka stocks close down 0.2-pct, banks retreat

May 13, 2013 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's stocks closed down 0.18 percent Monday with bank stocks sliding as domestic investors took profits, brokers said. The Lion Brewery Ceylon closed at 372.00 rupees up 1.90 rupees. Ceylon Tobacco Company was down 0.50 rupees to close at 829.00 rupees.

Nestle Lanka closed at 1860.00 rupees up 9.40 rupees.

Softlogic Holding gained 50 cents to close at 12.50 rupees.

Lanka Ceramic closed at 115.20 rupees down 0.40 rupees while Royal Ceramic was down 0.60 rupees to close at 109.90 rupees, Lanka Wall Tiles closed at 72.10 rupees down 0.90 rupees.

The benchmark Colombo All Share Index closed 10.97 points lower at 6,239.03 down 0.18 percent and the S&P SL 20 Index closed 12.05 points lower at 3,518.85 down 0.34 percent.

Turnover was 535 million rupees against 1.4 billion rupees on Friday, with 24.6 million shares changing hands.

Foreign buying was down to 176 million as compared to 284 million rupees on Friday. There were 76 positive contributors and 127 negative contributors in the days trading.

Market was dragged down by losses in the banking stocks with DFCC Bank closing at 147.10 down 5.30 rupees and Sampath Bank closing at 227.90 rupees down 5.30 rupees.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed 117.80 down 20 cents. National Development Bank closed at 178.90 rupees down 30 cents. Hatton National Bank closed at 168.00 rupees down 2.80 rupees.

HNB reported flat profits and higher bad loans for the March quarter.

Top contributors were John Keells Holdings which closed at 269.90 rupees up 1.60 rupees and Ceylinco Insurance up 38.60 rupees closing at 1,090.00 rupees.

J L Morrisons, a pharmaceutical firm rose on take-over speculation brokers said, ending the day at 290.30 up 47.10 rupees. The stock has gained 180 percent since April when it was 170 rupees.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka reduced the policy interest rate by 50 basis points to 7.0 and 9.0 percent to boost credit.

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