Sri Lankan shares flat

May 18, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tiny stock market closed flat on Friday on lacklustre trade, with buying interest in selected blue chip counters, brokers said. The 280-stock All Share Price Index added 3.38 points or 0.06 percent to close at 5,224.91, while the 25-stock Milanka Price Index crept-up 15.49 points or 0.33 percent to end at 4,695.41, according to Colombo Stock Exchange figures.

Friday’s turnover of 157.69 million rupees was the fourth lowest for the year, after sales of 132.9 million rupees was recorded on April 9. On Thursday, the bourse clocked a turnover of 168.4 million rupees.

Top trades in terms of turnover came from Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC, Dialog Axiata and John Keells Holdings PLC.

Commercial Bank, one of Sri Lanka’s most profitable banks, accounted for 12.3 million rupees of the day’s turnover on shares of 117,109. The counter closed down 10-cents to 105.00 rupees.

No TFC Reversal

But the deal did not take place, and The Finance Company (TFC) were down 1.20 rupees to 26.00 rupees.

On April 27, NSB bought a 13 percent stake of the troubled TFC for 390 million rupees from a consortium, but failed to settle its purchase with Sampath Bank, which acts as the settlement bank on behalf of the Central Depository System.

While the sellers were settled, the President and the Treasury Secretary ordered NSB to abort the transaction.

Taprobane Securities, which was the broker for the buyers and the sellers, on Friday said both parties were willing to reverse the transaction.

“Since NSB (our buying client) had expressed the view that it would wish to reverse the recent transaction, we have obtained the consent of our selling clients to reverse the transaction so that they could once again assume the ownership of this parcel of shares,” the brokerage was quoted telling state-run Daily News.

“Our selling clients have agreed to do so, because they have intimated to us, that they do recognise the value of the share,” Taprobane said.

The brokerage dismissed criticism that NSB paid excessively for the block of 7.1 million shares.

“Generally a 13 percent parcel of shares may attract a ‘per share’ price that is higher than the ‘per share’ price of a small quantity of shares that may be traded on the floor,” Taprobane said.

The report said the selling clients had acquired the shares at an average price of 48.00 rupees several months ago.

Malaysian-owned Dialog, the country’s largest mobile phone operator, closed flat at 5.40 rupees on trades of 1.7 million shares.

Diversified conglomerate John Keells, with investments ranging from transport to property, gained 80-cents to 201.00 rupees on sales of 43,387 shares.

Brokers expect the market to remain quiet next week.