Sri Lankan shares up, rupee steady

May 11, 2009 (LBO) – Profit taking helped to subdue gains in Sri Lankan stocks Monday while the rupee continued to hold against the dollar, traders and brokers said.

The rupee opened the day at 116.70/117.00 levels and strengthened to 116.50/70 levels by mid afternoon but weakened by late afternoon to trade at 117.00/117.10, dealers said.

In the stock market the All Share Price Index closed up 0.22 percent (4.08 points) to end at 1,900.09 while the Milanka index of liquid stocks closed down 0.03 percent (0.53 points) to end at 2,060.82, according to provisional stock exchange figures.

Turnover was 172.1 million rupees.

“Fundamentally strong counters including certain solid bank stocks were the top gainers of the day,” said Thakshila Hulangamuwa of Asha Phillip Securities.

“We expect the investors to hold on to their investments and look for a better price in the medium term as the market is poised to continue (its gains) and could be bullish if the conflict ends soon.”

There were no crossings during the day.

Sampath Bank gained 6.00 rupees to close at 89.75 on reports of its bid to takeover Seylan Bank, brokers said.

Lanka Orix Leasing Company (LOLC), which has also been short-listed by the central bank as a possible suitor to takeover the troubled Seylan Bank, gained 25 cents to close at 83.25.

Seylan Bank gained 25 cents to close at 38.00, while Development Finance Corporation of Ceylon gained 2.25 rupees to close at 92.75.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon gained 1.00 rupee to close at 96.00, while Hatton National Bank gained 2.50 rupees to close at 97.50.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings (JKH), which has interests in finance, transport, property development, food processing and retail sectors, lost 75 cents to close at 77.25.

Nestles Lanka, a subsidiary of multinational food giant Nestle, lost 5.00 rupees to close at 300.00, while celco giant Dialog Telekom, subsidiary of Malaysia Telekom, closed flat at 5.25 rupees.

Market heavy fixed line giant Sri Lanka Telecom closed flat at 39.25.

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