Sri Lanka stocks hit new high

Dec 18, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed at an all-time high Friday on strong buying by institutional and retail investors who brokers said appeared to be gaining more confidence in the market. The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed up 1.73 percent (54.35 points) to end at 3,188.82 Monday, while the Milanka index of liquid stocks gained 2.10 percent (74.73 points) to close at 3,630.48, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 1.14 billion rupees.

“Retailers and high-net-worth local individual buyers are getting back into the market,” said Nikita Tissera of SC Securities said.

“The much awaited market turnaround was witnessed today with solid support from all corners of the market,” Thakshila Hulangamuwa of Asha Phillip Securities said.

“This week’s performance has indicated a healthy turnaround in the market technically, so we expect the market to perform positively in the short to medium term.”

This week the ASPI gained 4.32 percent, while the Milanka was up 4.37 percent, brokers said.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings (JKH) saw renewed foreign interest and closed at 160.50 rupees, up 50 cents, and alcohol producer, Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka closed at 102.00, up 2.75.

During this week JKH contributed 5.8 billion rupees to the week’s turnover of 9.0 billion, brokers said.

Hulangamuwa said market sentiment appeared to be bullish in anticipation of healthy company earnings in the coming quarter.

The Lion Brewery closed at 71.50, up 3.75 with 1.2 million shares traded.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 184.75 rupees, up 3.75, Hatton National Bank closed flat at 169.75, Sampath Bank closed at 198.50 rupees, up 3.25 and Seylan Bank closed at 36.75 rupees, up 1.00.

DFCC Bank closed at 160.00, up 5.00, and National Development Bank closed at 205.00, up 5.00.

In a stock exchange filing Chevron Lubricants Lanka said a fourth interim dividend of 6.50 rupees per share will be paid on January 12, 2009.