Sri Lanka stocks up, blue chips in demand

Aug 02, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares continued last week’s bull-run Monday, as investors continued to buy despite some strategic profit taking, while large private deals on selected blue chips boosted turnover, brokers said.

The All Share Price Index closed at 5,178.47, up 17.29 points, while the more liquid Milanka index gained 0.32 percent (18.57 points) to close at 5,873.30, according to provisional stock exchange figures.

Turnover was 4.0 billion rupees.

“Last week’s positive sentiments continued,” Rakshitha Perera, research manager at Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said.

“We saw institutional participation on selected blue chips, while retail interest was centered on speculative stocks and midcaps.”

The Colombo Stock Exchange has consistently broken all time records during the past week.

Environmental Resources Investments (ERI), an investment company with its four rights issues whose price is highly volatile, is now the second most valuable company listed at the Colombo Stock Exchange, just behind conglomerate John Keells Holdings (JKH), brokers said.

ERI closed at 136.00 rupees, up 7.50 with 2.39 million shares traded.

Its W0001 warrant closed at 114.50 rupees, up 6.00, W0002 closed at 80.00 rupees, up 15.25 with 4.5 million shares changing hands, W0003 closed at 76.00 rupees, up 15.75 with 4.0 million shares traded and W0006 closed at 76.00 rupees, up 17.25 with nearly 4.5 million shares traded.

Commercial Bank closed at 191.20 rupees, up 1.20, Hatton National Bank closed at 290.00 rupees, down 4.00, Nations Trust Bank closed at 62.00 rupees, down 50 cents, Sampath Bank closed at 370.00 rupees, down 2.75 and Seylan Bank closed at 78.00 rupees, down 50 cents.

There was heavy buying interest on penny stocks, brokers said.

SMB Leasing closed at 1.80 rupees, up 10 cents with nearly 17.5 million shares changing hands, while Muller and Phipps close flat at 1.40 rupees with over 6.5 million shares changing hands, brokers said.

Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide closed at 8.00 rupees, up 1.25 with almost 11.5 million shares traded, while its non-voting shares closed at 3.80 rupees, up 80 cents on 33.3 million shares traded, brokers said.

“We could expect a bit of volatility with probability of investors realizing gains due to the market moving up substantially over the last few weeks,” Perera said.

“We advise investors to pursue volatility in a positive manner thereby capitalizing on trading opportunities that might arise.”

In a privately negotiated off-the-floor deal 3.125 million shares of JKH, an index heavy stock changed hands at between 250.00 to 251.00 rupees, brokers said. It closed at 250.00 rupees, up 2.50.

Aitken Spence closed at 1,900.00 rupees, down 24.50, Hayleys closed at 318.00 rupees, up 4.75 and Hemas Holdings closed at 41.10 rupees, down 15 cents.

There was some strategic profit taking amidst the record breaking bull-run, brokers said.

Amana Takaful closed flat at 3.40 rupees, Asia Capital closed at 32.00 rupees, down 50 cents, Balangoda Plantations closed at 41.60 rupees, down 1.65, Chemical Industries closed at 61.90 rupees, down 1.10 and Chevron Lubricants closed at 163.50 rupees, down 2.25.

Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka closed at 136.00 rupees, down 1.75, Elpitiya Plantations closed at 40.00 rupees, down 50 cents, First Capital Holdings closed at 19.30 rupees, down 70 cents, Galadari Hotels closed at 32.00 rupees, down 1.00 and Overseas Reality closed at 20.50 rupees, down 1.50.

Touchwood Investments, a forestry company closed at 39.40 rupees, up 9.65, with 14 million shares changing hands, brokers said.