Sri Lankan shares close flat, rupee up

Aug 17, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed flat Monday as investors took defensive positions on mostly blue chip stocks that took a beating last week owing to poor June quarter results, while the rupee strengthened against the dollar, brokers and dealers said.

The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed down 0.03 percent (0.73 points) to end at 2,500.46, while the Milanka index of liquid stocks gained 0.13 percent (3.64 points) to close at 2,820.30, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 257.5 million rupees.

On Monday there were net foreign outflows worth 47.9 million rupees, with foreign investors buying 47.9 million worth shares and selling shares valued at 116.8 million rupees, brokers said.

“The market activity was limited apart from the four John Keells Holdings (JKH) crossings,” Nirodha Bohingamuwa, an analyst from Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said.

“With the positive arrivals announcement there was some retail interest on selected hotel stocks.”

Brokers said 1.97 million Nawaloka shares changed hands at between 1.60 and 1.70 rupees a share, to close at 1.70 rupees, while four parcels consisting of 388,000 JKH shares changed hands at 131.00 rupees a share.

Index heavy conglomerate JKH closed at 131.25 rupees, up 1.00, while Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 144.00 rupees, up 50 cents.

Diversified Hayleys closed at 139.00 rupees, up 2.50, while DFCC Bank closed at 137.00 rupees, up 25 cents.

Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, a unit of unlisted tea company Stassens Group closed at 85.00 rupees, down 50 cents.

Fixed line operator Sri Lanka Telecom closed flat at 42.00 rupees.

Confifi Hotels closed at 117.25 rupees, up 25 cents, while Hotel Sigiriya closed at 57.00 rupees, up 5.25 with 103,000 shares changing hands today.

Hunas Falls Hotel closed at 51.50 rupees, down 1.50 on razor thin trade volumes, while Nuwara Eliya Hotels closed at 342.00 rupees, up 4.50 rupees.

Renuka City Hotels closed at 150.25 rupees, up 5.25, while Sigiriya Village closed at 38.50 rupees, up 1.00.

Tangerine Beach Hotel closed at 60.00 rupees, up 1.50, while five star city hotel, Trans Asia Hotel, a unit of JKH Group closed at 125.00 rupees, up 5.00.

The rupee opened at 114.90/95 against the greenback and strengthened to 114.65/85 when state name quotes went off the market.

Dealers say a large inflow to securities markets put upward pressure on the rupee.

The quote later narrowed to 114.80/85 levels, dealers said.