Sri Lankan stocks close up 0.74-pct, banks gain

Chandi Dharmaratne

June 03, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks closed at a new high Thursday, boosted by gains in financial sector shares while the Furkhan family sold remaining stakes in Confifi Hotels to Lanka Orix Leasing Company (LOLC), brokers said. The All Share Price Index (ASPI) closed at 4,332.29, up 31.90 points, while the Milanka index of more liquid stocks rose 1.42 percent (68.70 points) to close at 4,918.64.

Turnover was 3.67 billion rupees, according to stock exchange provisional figures.

The ASPI went past Wednesday’s record high of 4,300.39 points, while the Milanka is expected to pass the 5,000 point mark next week, brokers said.

A stock exchange filing said the Furkhan family, which owned the Confifi hotel group, sold-out 8.43 percent of Confifi Management Services at 210.00 rupees a share and Riverina Hotels at 110.00 rupees a share.

The family relinquished management rights to LOLC in the privately negotiated off-the-floor deal.

Confifi Hotels closed at 210.00 rupees, down 14.75, LOLC closed at 281.00 rupees, down 25 cents and Brown and Company closed at 115.00 rupees, up 25 cents, brokers said.

Investors are keenly looking at financial sector stocks again to make short term gains, brokers said.

Commercial Bank closed at 267.00 rupees, up 12.50, Hatton National Bank closed at 272.00 rupees, up 12.00, Nations Trust Bank closed at 42.25 rupees, up 25 cents, and Seylan Bank closed at 38.25 rupees, up 75 cents.

DFCC Bank closed at 247.75 rupees, up 9.50, and National Development Bank closed at 228.50 rupees, up 8.75.

Brokers said 2.15 million shares of Ceylon Grain Elevators changed hands. It closed at 24.75 rupees, up 1.25.

Chevron Lubricants closed at 159.50 rupees, down 5.25, Nestle closed at 680.00 rupees, down 20.00, Ceylon Tobacco Company, a unit of British-American Tobacco, closed at 310.00 rupees, up 4.75.

Conglomerates Hayleys closed at 300.75 rupees, down 4.00, Hemas Holdings closed at 150.00 rupees, down 1.75 and John Keells holdings closed at 188.00 rupees, down 25 cents.