Sri Lanka stocks fall on profit-taking

Jan 07, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares ended slightly lower Thursday as profit taking interrupted the steady rise in the bourse which was Asia’s best performing last year, brokers and analysts said.

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The All Share Price Index closed at 3,478.56, down 0.88 percent (30.80 points) while the more liquid Milanka index fell 1.01 percent (40.68 points) to close at 4,001.24.

Turnover was 1.6 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

Nikita Tissera, manager research at SC Securities, said investors booked profits after the recent rally.

“Profit taking brought the market down. The fundamentals are the same and the market’s overall direction is still up,” he said. “It’s just that it’s not a straight climb.”

Hotel stocks, which had rallied the day before, fell on profit taking by retail investors.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings closed flat at 175.25 rupees with over 4.8 million shares traded.

Overseas Realty, the most actively traded stock of the day, closed at 16.25 rupees, up 25 cents, with over 2.3 million shares traded.

Environmental Resources Investments, which was also heavily traded, closed at 59.50, down 50 cents

Renuka Agri Foods, which began trading this week, closed flat at 3.30 rupees, after peaking at 4.25 when it debuted Monday.

Its IPO was for 120 million shares at 2.25 rupees each.