June 20, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed more than one percent higher Friday, ending several days of declines, with speculative trading in Vallibel Power Erathna boosting turnover, brokers said. The All Share Price Index gained 1.11 percent (26.91 points) to end at 2,459.98 while the more liquid Milanka rose 1.33 percent (38.68 points) to 2,950.41. Turnover was 314 million rupees.
Angelo Ranasinghe of Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said activity was better than that of the last few days when trading virtually dried up.
“A technical correction was inevitable given that the market had been dropping continuously for several days,” he said.
“When prices look attractive, that attracts investors to capitalise on the fall in prices.”
Brokers said the main attraction of the day was Vallibel Power Erathna which shot up 36 percent or one rupee on speculative trading to 3.80 rupees.
Altogether 35.4 million Vallibel Power shares were traded, contributing about one-third of the day’s turnover.
Vallibel Power Erathna is one of the listed firms in the Vallibel group, owned by businessman Dhammika Perera.
Vallibel’s power division has a number of mini-hydro plants which have long term contracts with state-run Ceylon Electricity Board to sell power.
The Vallibel group last week bought a six percent stake in the Hayleys conglomerate and said it was looking to increase its holdings to 10 percent.
Vallibel had recently exited a hydro power plant in Kahawatte for about two billion rupees, and the group said it was planning to invest part of it in the market.
Ranasinghe of Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said the indices were lifted up Friday largely by John Keells Holdings which went up one rupee to 112 rupees with 388,100 shares traded, and Dialog Telekom, which rose 50 cents to 13.25 with 147,300 shares changing hands.
JKH traded between 111 and 113 rupees.
The other main contributor to trading was Aitken Spence which ended flat at 550 with 84,500 shares traded.
There was also some interest in certain low valued shares like Sierra Cables with over 5.2 million shares traded. The stock ended at 1.80 rupees.
Brokers said market activity could pick up next week when Sri Lanka Telecom shareholders who accepted the mandatory offer receive their money.
One of the reasons for stocks to fall in recent days was that funds had been drained away from the market by the initial public offers of Janashakthi Insurance, which was oversubscribed, and the forthcoming Ceylinco Insurance non-voting shares.
Market sentiment remains weak given high inflation and interest rates and worries about lower corporate earnings, brokers said.