Sri Lanka stocks end down 0.5-pct

Dec 09, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed weaker Friday, sinking below the 6,000 point mark in thin trade with an investor continuing to accumulate shares of Distilleries Company, brokers said. The main All Share Price Index fell 0.51 percent (30.75 points) to 5,996.44, while the more liquid Milanka index fell 0.34 percent (17.85 points) to close at 5,231.12.

Turnover fell to 464 million rupees Friday from 517 million rupees the day before, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

The sole crossing or off-market private deal for the day was 202,234 Distilleries Company shares at 150 rupees each, the latest in several deals in recent days. Distilleries trades accounted for the day’s highest turnover. It closed flat at 150.

Index heavyweight John Keells Holdings closed a rupee lower at 172.60.

Orient Garments was the most actively traded stock, closing at 33.40 rupees, down three, after hitting a high of 35.80, with 533,300 shares traded.

Expolanka Holdings was also actively traded, closing up 10 cents at 8.70 rupees, and hitting a high of nine rupees, with 4.77 million shares changing hands.

HVA Foods was also heavily traded, closing 80 cents lower at 38.30 rupees.

First Capital Holdings and Dunamis Capital which revealed losses from a fraud Thursday, weakened further.

First Capital Holdings fell 40 cents to 15.10 rupees while Dunamis Capital lost 30 cents to end at 14.70 rupees.

First Capital Holdings said a fraud committed by a senior employee in a subsidiary had resulted in an estimated loss of 160 million rupees.

Dunamis Capital, a related firm, said in a stock exchange filing that preliminary inquiries show the impact on its balance sheet will be 105 million rupees.

SC Securities said in a report the market is likely to remain bearish until price and credit rules are relaxed as demanded by stock brokers.

“The market, as stated in our previous issues needs more foreign investments. Net foreign buying needs to improve along with solid buying in blue chip counters,” they said.

“The market could continue to look bearish until the scheduled meeting between the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Colombo Stock Brokers Association takes place and results in certain trading rules being relaxed.

“We believe, the growth in indices and healthy activity levels will be sustainable only if confidence and vitality is provided by way of foreign investments, governmental and private institutional buying.”