Sri Lankan stocks close flat; rupee up

Nov 16, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka stocks closed flat Monday as investors on the back foot awaiting political developments, while the rupee strengthened against the greenback broker and dealers said. Conglomerate John Keells Holdings closed at 143.25 rupees, down 1.75, and Distilleries Company of Sri Lankan closed at 95.00 rupees, down 25 cents.

Commercial Bank of Ceylon closed at 175.75 rupees, down 2.25, and National Development Bank closed flat at 180.00 rupees.

Plantations companies Bogawantalawa Tea Estate closed at 39.75 rupees, down 50 cents, Elpitiya Plantations 48.25 rupees, up 50 cents and Kegalle Plantations 31.25 rupees, up 25 cents.

Malwatte Valley Plantations closed at 31.00 rupees, up 1.25 and Watawala Plantations 63.50 rupees and down 50 cents.

Dialog Telekom a unit of Malaysia’s Axiata, closed flat at 7.50 rupees with over one million shares changing hands, and Sri Lanka Telecom closed at 43.00 rupees, down 50 cents.

Retailer favourite Lanka Cement closed at 25.00 rupees, up 50 cents, and Touchwood Investment closed at 82.50 rupees, down 1.25.

The All Share Price Index closed flat at 2,979.21, while the Milanka Price Index of more liquid stocks closed at 3,395.92, down 0.05 percent (1.84 points).

A state bank that signals the Central Bank’s stance bought dollars at 114.35 levels up from early purchase 114.45 levels.

Turnover was 589.0 million rupees, according to provisional Colombo Stock Exchange data.

“The market is adjusted well for a peace dividend, and is stabilizing its ground and fluctuating between 2,850 to 3,000 points as expected,” Thakshila Hulangamuwa, vice president Asha Phillip Securities, a brokerage, said.

“Though the macroeconomic indicators such as favorable interest rates and low inflation have given some confidence, speculation of possible elections is keeping investors watchful.”

The country’s top general bid farewell to his uniform amid speculation of his entering politics.

On Sunday Sri Lanka’s president Mahinda Rajapaksa failed to declare dates for parliamentary election due early next year or snap presidential polls as expected at a party rally.