Sri Lanka stocks up 2.84-pct

(From left) Dharmasri Kumaratunga, Director - Payments and Settlements, Central Bank; Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank; and Tharaka Ranwala, Head of Operations and Group Chief Marketing Officer, Sampath Bank

Jan 04, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stock closed the first day of trading for the year up 2.84 percent Monday with retail investors chasing diversified, manufacturing and banking sector stocks, brokers said.

Ceylon Tobacco Company closed at 200.00 rupees, up 15.00, Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka closed at 109.00 rupees, up 3.75 and Colombo Dockyard closed at 283.50 rupees, up 38.75.

Sampath Bank closed at 219.25 rupees, up 15.00 rupees, Seylan Bank closed at 39.00 rupees, up 2.00 and Commercial Bank of Ceylon 190.75 rupees, up 1.25.

National Development Bank ended at 209.25 rupees, up 3.25, and DFCC Bank at 170.50 rupees, up 3.50.

Sampath Bank in a stock exchange filing dismissed a media report over the weekend that it planned to go for a 4.0 billion rupee ‘rights issue’.

It said it is not planning a rights issue at present. The Colombo all share price index (ASPI) ended at 3,481.64, up 96.09 points while the more liquid Milanka closed at 3,961.75, up 2.92 percent (112.37 points), according to provisional stock market data.

Turnover was 1.15 billion rupees.

Brokers said foreign funds were beginning to enter the market which had a bull run last year and ended 2009 as Asia’s best performing bourse, and the world’s second-best performing after Russia.

“The bourse is attracting new funds,” said Thakshila Hulangamuwa, vice president at stock brokering firm Asha Phillip Securities.

The flow of new money could help sustain the latest gains, he said.

John keels Holdings (JKH) was heavily traded, brokers said.

JKH closed at 179.00 rupees, up 7.50 with 1.32 million shares changing hands, brokers said.