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Sri Lankan stocks close 1.08-pct down

Officials from K. Seeds Investments Pvt Ltd (at left) with officials from Commercial Credit and Finance PLC (at right)

Mar 31, 2010 (LBO) - Sri Lankan stocks closed lower Wednesday after the price of Environmental Resources Investments, an index heavy firm, fell owing to heavy retail selling with an ex-rights issue expiring Tuesday, brokers said. Colombo's All Share Price Index closed at 3,724.59, down 40.48 points, while the Milanka index of more liquid shares dipped 2.14 percent (93.60 points) to close at 4,270.73.

Turnover was 904.2 million rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

"Environmental Resources Investments trades without the entitlement for ex-rights issue which expired on March 30, 2010," Thakshila Hulangamuwa, vice president at stock brokering house Asha Phillip Securities said.

"The theoretical price should have been 159.00 rupees per ordinary voting share but heavy retail selling has brought down the shares price to 101.00 rupees.

"The drops in banking stocks such as NDB and Sampath also had an impact on the market performance.

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Environmental Resources Investments ordinary voting shares closed at 101.00 rupees, down 58.00. Its 0000 warrants closed at 67.25 rupees, down 80.25, and 0001 warrants closed at 62.00 rupees, down 81.75.

The company is under investigation for irregular price movements by market watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"Being a short trading week and elections just a few days away we can expect a little bit of market volatility," Rakshitha Perera, research manager at Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said.

"Some of the shares are currently trading at a discount and this is an opportune time to pick them up."

Conglomerates John Keells Holdings closed flat at 184.00 with 1.6 million shares changing hands, Aitken Spence closed at 1,375.00 rupees, up 50.00, Hayleys closed flat at 225.00 rupees and Hemas Holdings closed at 120.00 rupees, up 75 cents.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 202.00 rupees, up 25 cents with 523,400 shares traded.

Hatton National Bank closed at 188.00 rupees, up 2.25, Sampath Bank closed at 222.

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00 rupees, down 6.25 and Seylan Bank closed flat at 47.
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