Sri Lankan stocks close 0.11-pct down

Feb 09, 2010 (LBO) – A rally in Sri Lankan shares was interrupted Tuesday as retail investors took profits while price jumps in selected stocks prevented the bourse falling further, brokers said. Sunshine Holdings which has interests in plantations and healthcare sectors closed at 300.00 rupees, up 123.50, albeit on thin trading turnover.

The Sri Lankan unit of Swiss food company Nestle closed at 455.00 rupees, down 12.75, and Ceylon Tobacco Company, a unit of British American Tobacco closed at 259.75 rupees, down 6.00.

Brokers said 200,000 John Keells Holdings (JKH) shares changed hands between 168.00 and 169.00 rupees in a private off-the-floor deal.

Conglomerate JKH closed at 168.00 rupees, down 3.50, and alcohol producer Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka closed at 115.00 rupees, down 1.00.

Commercial Bank closed at 193.00 rupees, down 2.00, Hatton National Bank closed at 175.00 rupees, down 25 cents, Sampath Bank closed at 221.00 rupees, down 3.75, and Seylan Bank closed at 48.00 rupees, down 1.25.

DFCC Bank closed at 173.00 rupees, down 3.00, and National Savings Bank closed at 219.00 rupees, down 2.25.

Fears of future political instability arising from the arrest of defeated presidential candidate, former Sri Lanka Army chief Sarath Fonseka, also negatively affected investor sentiment, brokers said.

Fonseka challenged his former boss, incumbent president Mahinda Rakapaksa at last month’s presidential polls and lost.

Eagle Insurance, the Sri Lankan unit of Aviva closed at 220.00 rupees, up 15.25.

Dialog Telekom, a celco, closed at 7.00 rupees, up 25 cents, and Sri Lanka Telecom, a fixed line operator closed at 42.00 rupees, down 75 cents.

The All Share Price Index closed at 3,785.28, down 4.09 points while the Milanka index of more liquid stocks rose 0.06 percent (2.71 points) to close at 4,376.46.

Turnover was 2.23 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

“The market’s marginally positive opening failed to maintain momentum due to heavy profit taking. Nevertheless it made a slight recovery towards the end,” Rakshitha Perera, research manager at Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said.

“Investors should pay attention to companies that have posted solid results and should pay more attention to stocks that are expected to post good results.”

Brokers said prices of Environmental Resources Investments and Sunshine Holdings shares made significant gains.

Environmental Resources 0000 warrants closed at 164.50 rupees, up 19.25, while its 0001 warrant closed at 165.00 rupees, up 20.50. Environmental Resources voting shares closed at 243.00 rupees, up 36.00.

Environmental Resources with a market capitalization of 36.6 billion rupees is now the seventh largest company in terms of value listed at the Colombo Stock Exchange, surpassing Aitken Spence, a diversified conglomerate with interests in leisure, power and plantations.