Sri Lankan shares close marginally up

Feb 10, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks ended slightly up Tuesday with speculative trading on Lanka Cement by small investors, as high-net-worth and institutional investors stayed away owing to fears of poor company earnings, brokers said.

The All Share Price Index ended up 0.21 percent (3.77 points) at 1,765.88 while the more liquid Milanka gained 1.54 percent (28.39 points) to close at 1,875.00.

Turnover was 83.2 million rupees.

“Investors continued to stay away from the market. A few stocks such Maskeliya Plantations and Lanka Cement drew interest on speculative trading,” said Geeth Balasuriya of Acuity Stockbroker.

“Institutional and high-net-worth investors are waiting for the corporate earning results and the final outcome of the war.”

Lanka Cement gained 75 cents to close at 14.75, with two million shares traded.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings gained 4.20 percent (2.50 rupees) to 62. Ceylinco Insurance was down one rupee, and closed at 173.75.

“There was very low level buying interest on JKH, Commercial Bank and LIOC,” said Angelo Ranasinghe of Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers.

“The manufacturing sector contributed 37 percent of the day’s turnover, followed by banks, finance and insurance and the diversified sectors.”

There were no crossings today.

Sri Lanka Telecom lost 75 cents, to close at 36. Dialog Telekom gained 25 cents, to close at 5.25.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon said former chief executive of Lankaputhra Development Bank, S N Wickramasinghe, has been appointed to its board.

Prior to joining Lankaputhra Bank in April 2007, Wickramasinghe was employed at Hatton National Bank for 26 years. Subsequently she was promoted to deputy general manager in 2000.

Commercial Bank shares gained 2.25 rupees, to close at 90.

Foreign buying was at 9.2 million rupees, while foreign selling was at 7.9 million.