Sri Lankan stocks close down 0.37-pct, rupee stable

Aug 19, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed down Wednesday as retail investors took profits on the last few day’s gains, while the rupee stabilized against the greenback, brokers and dealers said.

The benchmark Colombo All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed down 0.37 percent (9.44 points) to end at 2,521.24, while the Milanka index of liquid stocks lost 0.25 percent (6.98 points) to close at 2,837.53, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 365.9 million rupees.

The rupee stabilized at 114.75/85 levels against the greenback after gaining 10 cents this week as state-owned Bank of Ceylon recalled its bid to buy dollars at 114.90 from the market, dealers said.

On Wednesday there were net foreign inflows worth 24.6 million rupees, with foreign investors buying 74.4 million worth shares and selling shares valued at 49.8 million rupees, brokers said.

“Retailers took early profits due to selling pressures on margin calls,” Nirodha Bohingamuwa of Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said.

“Despite today’s weak performance retailers are still interested in hotel stocks.”

Brokers said three parcels containing 1.75 million Richard Pieris shares changed hands at 33 rupees, while 77,000 Sampath Bank shares changed hands at 130.00 rupees.

Richard Pieris closed at 33.75 rupees, up 75 cents, while Sampath Bank closed flat at 132.00 rupees.

Sri Lanka’s largest celco Dialog Telekom, a unit of Telekom Malaysia closed at 5.25 rupees, down 25 cents.

Conglomerate John Keells Holdings closed at 135.50 rupees, up 50 cents, while Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka closed at 85.00 rupees, up 25 cents.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 145.25 rupees, down 25 cents, while Hatton National Bank closed at 127.00 rupees, down 50 cents.

Diversified Hayleys closed at 139.75 rupees, up 1.00, while retailer favorite Lanka Cement closed at 28.00 rupees, down 50 cents.

Confifi Hotels closed flat at 125.00 rupees, while Hotel Sigiriya closed at 67.50 rupees, down 1.00 with 40,800 shares changing hands.

Serendib Hotels closed at 54.75 rupees, up 50 cents, while Sigiriya Village closed at 41.00 rupees, down 1.00, with 199,300 shares changing hands.

Tangerine Beach Hotel closed at 57.25 rupees, down 25 cents, while city hotel, Trans Asia Hotel, a unit of JKH Group closed at 126.00rupees, up 75 cents.