Sri Lankan shares down 0.85-pct

Oct 22, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares failed to hold onto morning gains Thursday as retailers with weak finances sold to meet margin calls, while some investors were seen taking profits from yesterday’s gains, brokers said.

The All Share Price Index closed down 0.85 percent (25.73 points) to end at 2,992.87, while the Milanka Index of more liquid stocks dropped 0.75 percent (25.39 points) to close at 3,365.87, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 293.0 million rupees.

“This is a temporary setback ignited by panicked retailers who lack the will and finances to hold,” Manjula Kumarasinghe, director at stock brokering house SKM Lanka Holdings said.

“These liquid shares will be taken by the bargain hunters that have the financial strength to hold it medium to long term.”

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings which took a beating this week closed flat at 140.25 rupees, and Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka closed at 98.50 rupees, down 3.00.

Commercial Bank of Sri Lanka closed at 178.50 rupees, down 2.75, and DFCC Bank closed at 148.75 rupees, down 4.50.

Brokers said some investors took profits from yesterday gains.

National Development Bank closed at 185.50 rupees, down 2.50, and Sampath Bank closed at 182.25 rupees, down 2.75.

Seylan Bank closed at 40.00 rupees, down 50 cents.

Celco giant Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telekom Malaysia closed flat at 7.25 rupees with 1.82 million shares changing hands, and fixed line operator Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 44.00 rupees, down 1.00.

Tokyo Cement closed at 225.25 rupees, down 4.75, and retailer favorite Lanka Cement closed at 28.50 rupees, down 1.00.

Colombo Dockyard closed at 178.00 rupees, down 3.00, and Sathosa Motors closed at 131.50 rupees, up 5.00.