Sri Lankan shares close 0.29-pct down

Feb 10, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares slid Wednesday as foreign investors continued to take profits after a rally that drove prices to new highs while interest on mid-cap stocks like Kshatriya Holdings sent turnover past 2.3 billion rupees, brokers said. Nawaloka Hospitals closed at 3.30 rupees, down 20 cents, Ceylon Hospitals closed at 135.00 rupees, up 8.25, Asiri Hospitals closed at 9.00 rupees, up 25 cents, Asiri Surgical Hospital closed at 10.00 rupees, up 25 cents, and Ceylon Hospitals closed at 135.00 rupees, up 8.25.

Investors should look at fundamentally sound stocks and should avoid shares that are prone to unusual price volatility, brokers said.

Environmental Resources 0000 warrants closed at 148.50 rupees, down 25.00, while its 0001 warrant closed at 147.25 rupees, down 27.50. Environmental Resources voting shares closed at 238.25 rupees, down 25.50.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings closed at 167.50 rupees, down 2.25, and Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka closed at 116.00 rupees, up 25 cents.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 191.50 rupees, down 1.75, Hatton National Bank closed at 172.75 rupees, down 2.25, Sampath Bank closed at 220.25 rupees, down 4.50, and Seylan Bank closed at 46.25 rupees, down 2.50.

DFCC Bank closed flat at 175.00 rupees, and National Development Bank closed at 217.00 rupees, down 1.75.

The All Share Price Index closed at 3,774.34, down 10.94 points while the Milanka index of more liquid stocks slid 0.93 percent (40.66 points) to close at 4,335.80.

Turnover was 2.31 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

“The political uncertainly has pushed investors to take profits in a heated market. This may continue for a few more days ahead,” Thakshila Hulangamuwa, vice president at stock brokering firm Asha Phillip Securities said.

“Retail participation is dominant, while foreigners continue to take profits.”

Brokers said over 41 million Kshatriya Holdings shares changed hands. It closed at 11.50 rupees, up 2.50.

First Capital Holdings closed at 96.00 rupees, up 17.50 with 1.75 million shares traded, while Touchwood Investment, a forestry company closed at 147.25 rupees, up 22.00, with 2.7 million shares changing hands.

Sunshine Holdings closed at 463.50 rupees, up 138.00.