Sri Lankan stocks close 0.23-pct down

Mar 30, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed down Tuesday as lack of interest from foreign and local funds kept turnover levels low, while John Keells Holdings (JKH) is on the verge of becoming the second company to hit a billion dollars in market cap, brokers said. Hayleys closed at 235.00 rupees, up 9.50 on 100 shares traded, brokers said.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 198.00 rupees, down 75 cents with 440,000 shares traded on a private off-the-floor deal between 196.00 to 200.00 rupees.

Hatton National Bank closed at 185.50 rupees, up 1.75, Sampath Bank closed at 227.50 rupees, down 25 cents and Seylan Bank closed flat at 47.25.

Brokers said 2.1 million Seylan Bank non-voting shares changed hands in a private deal at 26.5 rupees to close at 26.50 rupees, up 25 cents, while Nations Trust Bank, a unit of JKH closed flat at 36.00 rupees, with 550,000 shares traded in private deal, brokers said.

Environmental Resources Investments ordinary voting shares closed at 239.00 rupees, down 2.75. Its 0000 warrants closed at 153.00 rupees, down 1.25, and 0001 warrants closed at 151.00 rupees, down 3.50.

The All Share Price Index closed at 3,765.07, down 8.69 points, while the Milanka index of more liquid shares dipped 0.61 percent (26.89 points) to close at 4,364.33.

Turnover was 800.3 million rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

“The market closed lower due to a lack of institutional funds,” Nikita Tissera, research manager at stock brokering firm SC Securities said.

“There has been a significant amount of foreign fund outflow from the market of which we may a say a reversal post general election.”

On Tuesday, JKH, a conglomerate has a market cap of approximately 140 billion rupees, just over a billion rupees short of hitting a billion dollars in market capitalization, closed flat at 186.00 rupees, brokers said.

Brokers said Dialog Telekom, a celco was the first company to hit a market capitalization of a billion dollars, but slipped after its share prices dived from record losses.

Dialog closed flat at 7.00, and Sri Lanka Telecom, a fixed line operator closed at 37.00 rupees, up 75 cents.