Sri Lankan shares up 0.21-pct, blue chips gain

Aug 04, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks regained some lost ground Tuesday as investors took careful bets on selected blue chips such as John Keells Holdings (JKH) and Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, but overall sentiment still remained weak, brokers said.

The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed up 0.21 percent (5.36 points) to end at 2,517.51 Tuesday, while the Milanka index of liquid stocks gained 1.18 percent (33.38 points) to close at 2,854.33, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 299.8 million rupees.

On Tuesday there were net foreign inflows worth 27 million rupees, with foreign investors buying 143.7 million worth shares and selling shares valued at 116.7 million rupees, brokers said.

“Despite a few large blocks traded in a few counters overall market sentiment was more on a negative tone, “Thakshila Hulangamuwa, vice president at Asha Phillip Securities said.

“Retail activity was also moderate and we expect the present trend of the market to continue.”

In late afternoon trade two parcels consisting 400,000 JKH shares changed hands at a price of 133.00 rupees per share in an off-the-floor deal, brokers said. A total 1.01 million JKH shares changed hands.

Index heavy blue chip conglomerate JKH closed at 134.00 rupees, up 1.00, while Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka closed at 88.00 rupees, up 1.00.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 144.50 rupees, up 1.00, while Hatton National Bank closed at 128.00 rupees, up 50 cents.

Ceylon Tobacco Company closed at 139.00 rupees, up 6.00.

Dialog Telekom a unit of Telekom Malaysia, closed at 6.00 rupees, up 25 cents, while fixed line operator Sri Lankan Telecom closed at 46.00 rupees, down 1.25.

Lanka Cement, a favourite amongst retail investors closed flat at 33.75 rupees, while Chevron Lubricants closed at 128.00 rupees, down 50 cents.

Brokers said over one million shares of First Capital Holdings changed hands. First Capital Holdings closed at 14.25 rupees, up 75 cents.