Sri Lankan shares weak

Chandi Dharmaratne

May 4, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lankan share prices closed the week in the red on Friday, with large trades in conglomerate John Keells Holdings and computer parts vendor, PC House, brokers said. Colombo’s 240-tracker All Share Price Index slipped 7.33 points or 0.13 percent to close at 5,382.14, while the liquid Milanka Price Index edged up 7.02 points or 0.14 percent, according to figures published by the Colombo Stock Exchange.

Friday’s turnover was a modest 453.77 million rupees, largely dominated by crossings in John Keells and PC House.

A nine-million parcel of PC House changed crossed at 8.80 rupees (up one-rupee) minutes before trading closed at 2.30 pm. However, PC House shares closed down 10-cents to 7.70 rupees on volumes of 9.56 million shares.

John Keells, the largest capitalised stock on the Colombo bourse, was the pick of the day, after a parcel of 165,999 shares crossed at 202.00 rupees (up 40-cents), minutes after trading opened at 9.30 am.

The conglomerate, which has investments in ports, finance, leisure and foods, saw its share price close up at 40-cents to 202.40 rupees when trading closed Friday. Total volume traded stood at 205,214 shares.

Friday’s other notable trade, in terms of turnover, came from the Carsons Group, which has investments in oil palm plantations, brewery and hotels. Shares of Carsons moved up 13.80 rupees to 470.00 rupees on trades of 51,801.

Brokers expect the market to remain listless next week, with Monday being declared a public holiday on account of a major Buddhist holiday falling on Saturday.

Buddhists accounts for some 70.0 percent of Sri Lanka’s population of 20 million.