Sri Lankan shares close flat, blue chips down

Aug 11, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed flat Tuesday as retail investors were seen taking profits on selected blue chip and high value shares, while there was renewed interest in certain mid-cap counters, brokers said.

The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed up 0.09 percent (2.15 points) to end at 2,524.92 Tuesday, while the Milanka index of liquid stocks lost 0.19 percent (5.34 points) to close at 2,874.77, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 319.3 million rupees.

On Tuesday there were net foreign inflows worth 19.5 million rupees, with foreign investors buying 58.3 million worth shares and selling shares valued at 38.9 million rupees, brokers said.

“There was profit taking on selected blue chip stocks such as John Keells Holdings (JKH), Commercial Bank and Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT),” Nirodha Bohingamuwa, research analyst at Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said.

“Today activity levels were high in Seylan Bank non-voting, Sampath Bank and Pelwatte Sugar stocks.”

Index heavy conglomerate JKH closed at 132.75 rupees, down 75 cents, while Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 143.00 rupees, down 1.00.

Sri Lanka’s largest fixed line operator SLT closed at 43.25 rupees, down 1.75 amidst weak corporate earnings, while celco Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telekom Malaysia closed flat at 6.00 rupees.

SLT’s June quarter earnings had dropped 75 percent to 375 million rupees, from the corresponding period in 2008.

Brokers said 1.89 million Piramal Glass Ceylon and 1.27 million Pelwatte Sugar shares changed hands today.

Seylan Bank non-voting closed at 7.00 rupees, up 25 cents, with 934,600 shares changing hands, brokers said.

National Development Bank closed flat at 166.00 rupees, while DFCC Bank closed at 139.00 rupees, down 50 cents.

A parcel consisting 90,100 Hatton National Bank (HNB) shares changed hands at 131.00.

HNB closed flat at 129.00 rupees, while Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, a unit of unlisted Stassens group closed at 86.00 rupees, up 75 cents.

Nestles Lanka closed at 353.25 rupees, up 102.25 with only 7,400 shares changing hands.