Sri Lankan share prices ease further

July 02, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares continued their slide Wednesday with investor nervousness about a forthcoming anniversary of anti-Tamil riots that sparked the ethnic war adding to concerns over high inflation and interest rates, brokers said. The All Share Price Index fell 0.27 percent (6.61 points) to end at 2,433.35 while the more liquid Milanka was down 0.20 percent (5.79 points) to 2,946.36. Turnover was 174 million rupees.

Brokers said the market is likely to stagnate at current levels with thin trading in the days ahead.

Interest in stocks has weakened with investors worried that record high inflation and high borrowing rates could reduce consumer buying power and erode company earnings.

Investors are also worried that there is no immediate end in sight to the ethnic war, a key anniversary of which looms later this month.

Anti-Tamil riots on July 23, 1983 damaged the economy and resulted in a wave of sympathy for the Tamil Tiger insurgency which subsequently intensified.

In trading Wednesday, John Keells Holdings was unchanged at 109 rupees with a crossing of 456,300 shares.

Dialog Telekom was unchanged at 14 rupees while Sri Lanka Telecom was down 50 cents to 44.50 with 123,400 shares traded.

Carsons Cumberbatch fell 200 rupees to end at 4,000 while Nations Trust Bank lost a rupee to end at 34.