Sri Lankan stocks close 0.45-pct down on retail profit taking

Mar 17, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed lower almost across the board Wednesday as retail investors took profits, while a large deal on Lighthouse Hotel boosted turnover, brokers said. Environmental Resources Investments ordinary voting shares closed at 258.50 rupees, up 1.00. Its 0000 warrants closed at 158.50 rupees, up 2.00, and 0001 warrants closed at 158.50 rupees, up 2.50.

The All Share Price Index closed at 3,768.29, down 17.21 points, while the Milanka index of more liquid shares dipped 0.27 percent (1.89 points) to close at 4,327.45.

Turnover was 2.15 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

“We expect the market to regain momentum soon after the elections (on April 8) as investors still prefer to stay on the sidelines,” Rakshita Perera, research manager at Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said.

“The hotel, manufacturing, trading, land and property sectors have potential to move up after the polls. Even the motor sector might do well if some concessions are given in the national budget.”

The Lighthouse Hotel closed at 60.75 rupees, down 19.50 with 13.8 million shares changing hands, brokers said.

John Keells Holdings closed at 169.00 rupees, down 75 cents, Hayleys closed at 231.50 rupees, up 1.25, Hemas Holdings closed at 121.50 rupees, down 50 cents and Aitken Spence closed at 1,375.00 rupees, down 10.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 192.75 rupees, up 50 cents, Hatton National Bank closed at 181.00 rupees, down 25 cents, Seylan Bank closed at 46.25 rupees, down 50 cents and Nation Trust Bank closed at 36.50 rupees, down 50 cents.