Sri Lankan stocks recoup losses

June 05, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan stocks Friday recovered from Thursday’s losses but still managed lose 1.71 percent during the week due to profit taking, mainly by foreign investors, brokers said.

The spot dollar remained unchanged at 114.90/95 levels in late afternoon trade, dealers said.

Dealers said the money market was dull this week on the expectation of a rate cut to be announced by the Central Bank in the near future.

The Colombo All Share Price Index closed up 1.81 percent (38.77 points) to end at 2,178.11while the Milanka index of liquid stocks gained 2.64 percent (62.97 points) to close at 2,447.56, according to provisional stock exchange data.

Turnover was 1.06 billion rupees.

“The market recovered mainly on Hatton National Bank (HNB), Aitken Spence, Nestle, Dialog and Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT),” said Darshi Ganeshan of Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers.

“We expect the market to be up next week and the bullish sentiment to continue.”

On Thursday shares fell after a three bench judiciary headed by Chief Justice, Sarath N. Silva ordered the reversal of 2003 sale of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation to Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka.

Distilleries is a unit of tycoon Harry Jayawardena’s Stassens group, which also has large holdings of HNB, Development Finance Corporation of Ceylon, Commercial Bank and Aitken Spence Holdings.

Distilleries gained 2.25 rupees to close at 79.00.

People’s Leasing Company, a subsidiary of state owned People’s Bank acquired almost 85 percent (19.2 million shares) of Seylan Merchant Leasing Limited (SMLL), at 23 rupees.

SMLL contributed 441 million rupees to the day’s turnover and was down 25 cents to close at 21.00.

“Activity levels were low compared to last week. Profit taking was high this week,” said Ganeshan.

Diversified Aitken Spence gained 41.75 rupees to close 517.00.

HNB gained 6.00 rupees to close at 112, while Sri Lankan unit of Swiss based food giant Nestle gained 20.00 rupees, to close at 360.00.

Celco giant Dialog Telekom a subsidiary of Telekom Malaysia gained 25 cents to close at 5.50, while fixed line giant SLT closed flat at 41.00.

Index heavy conglomerate John Keells Holdings, gained 1.50 rupees to close at 111.00.

Lanka Milk Foods, another company controlled by Stassens Group gained 3.25 to close at 45.00.

Lanka Orix Leasing Company gained 2.75 rupees to close at 96.50.