Sri Lankan shares close flat, blue chips gain

Aug 20, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed flat Thursday as retail investors eyed undervalued mid-cap stocks to profit from an anticipated month-end technical correction, brokers said.

The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed up 0.06 percent (1.58 points) to end at 2,524.62, while the Milanka index of liquid stocks gained 0.12 percent (3.39 points) to close at 2,843.49, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 333.6 million rupees.

On Thursday there were net foreign outflows worth 13.8 million rupees, with foreign investors buying 117.6 million worth shares and selling shares valued at 131.4 million rupees, brokers said.

“As expected the market continues to be sluggish and the indexes remain marginally positive with a few local and foreign institutional investors taking positions on selected counters,” Thakshila Hulangamuwa of Asha Phillip Securities said.

“This sentiment can be expected to continue towards the end of the month where we expect a technical correction to come.

“The selling pressure is easing-off in the market which is a good sign.”

Brokers said 2.55 million Environmental Resources Investments warrants changed hands. It closed at 13.50 rupees, down 50 cents.

Another 2.97 million Environmental Resources Investments warrants changed hands. It closed at 12.25 rupees, up 25 cents.

Sri Lanka’s fifth largest insurance company, Janashakthi Insurance closed at 7.50 rupees, up 50 cents with 661,000 shares changing hands.

Index heavy weight conglomerate John Keells Holdings closed at 134.25 rupees, up 75 cents with 907,000 shares changing hands while Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 145.75 rupees, up 50 cents.

Sampath Bank closed at 133.00 rupees, up 75 cents, while National Development Bank closed at 167.25 rupees, up 50 cents.

Brokers said 1.46 million shares of Tess Agro changed hands. Tess Agro closed flat at 90 cents, while retailer favorite Lanka Cement closed flat at 28.00 rupees.

Sri Lanka’s largest celco Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telekom Malaysia closed flat at 5.25 rupees, while fixed line giant Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 42.75 rupees, up 25 cents.