Sri Lankan shares bounce back

Oct 21, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares made a strong recovery to edge back over 3,000 points in late afternoon trade Wednesday as panicky investors calmed down on news a US hedge fund whose founder faces fraud charges had claimed adequate liquidity, brokers said. Conglomerate John Keells Holdings recovered to close at 140.25 rupees, up 25 cents, and Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka closed at 101.50, up 1.75.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 181.25 rupees, up 1.00, and Hatton National Bank closed at 165.25 rupees, up 8.75.

National Development Bank closed at 188.00 rupees, down 2.00, and Seylan Bank closed at 40.50 rupees, down 25 cents.

Sampath Bank closed flat at 185.00 rupees.

Celco giant Dialog Telekom closed at 7.25 rupees, up 25 cents, and Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 45.00 rupees, up 75 cents.

Retailer favorite Touchwood Investment closed at 90.75 rupees, up 1.00, and Lanka Cement closed at 29.50 rupees, up 75 cents.

Sri Lanka’s first ever closed fund, NAMAL Acuity Value Fund closed at 47.00 rupees, down 1.75. At the Initial Public Offering each unit of the fund was issued at 50.00 rupees.

The All Share Price Index closed up 1.19 percent (35.43 points) to end at 3,018.60, while the Milanka Index of more liquid stocks dropped 1.92 percent (63.91 points) to close at 3,391.26, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 951.3 million rupees.

The ASPI plunged over four percent in mid-morning trade, dragged down by losses in blue chips.

Brokers said investors, who sold in panic as they overreacted to the insider dealing charges against Raj Rajaratnam, the Sri Lankan-born co-founder of the Galleon hedge fund, calmed own after its Galleon Asia unit claimed high liquidity status, brokers said.

Investors had feared the fund, which has invested in blue chips listed on the Colombo bourse, would face high withdrawals.

“Galleon Asia made a statement claiming a status of high liquidity,” Nikita Tissera, manager research at SC Securities said.

“The fund affirmed that so far they had no such calls to withdraw money yet. However the exposure to Galleon in the Colombo Stock Exchange is very limited.”