Sri Lankan stocks shoot up on war victory

May 18, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares went up across the board Monday on news that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his top lieutenants were killed by the security forces, brokers said. However, the new international head of the LTTE, Selvarasa Pathmanathan also known as ‘KP’ remains at large and wanted by Interpol.

He is believed to be hiding in a south east Asian country and is the rebel group’s main arms procurer and could try to revive the movement overseas, analysts said.

Brokers said 2.5 million shares of insurance company, Asian Alliance, changed hands at 50.00 rupees in a off-the-floor transaction.

Asian Alliance closed flat at 50.00 rupees.

“Aggressive buying was seen by investors with the three-decade war coming to an end,” said Geeth Balasuriya of Acuity Stockbrokers.

“We expect the positive sentiments to continue with more investors expected to move into the market over the coming days. However, profit taking is also likely over the latter part of the week.”

Conglomerate John Keells Holding (JKH) which has interests in transport, property development, retail, food processing and finance, contributed 375.4 million rupees to the day’s turnover.

JKH gained 14.50 rupees to close at 93.50.

Sri Lanka’s largest privately held bank, Commercial Bank of Sri Lanka gained 5.00 rupees to close at 100.00, while National Development Bank gained 4.25 to close at 69.50.

Sri Lanka’s largest celco Dialog Telekom, a subsidiary of Telekom Malaysia, gained 50 cents to close at 5.75.

Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka gained 6.00 rupees to close at 88.00.

The exceptional growth of the ASPI during the day brought the index growth for the current year up to 35.1 percent, while the MPI growth for the year to date stands at 36.7 percent, the CSE said.

Foreign buying for the day was 201.4 million rupees, while foreign selling amounted to 447.4 million resulting a net outflow of 246 million rupees.

The spot US dollar strengthened to 114.90/115.00 after opening at 117.40/60 levels dealers said.

The All Share Price Index (ASPI) of the Colombo stock exchange (CSE) rose 6.5 percent (123.2 points), the sixth highest daily percentage growth, to end at 2,030.9.

The Milanka index (MPI) of liquid stocks shot up 7.80 percent (162.0 points), the sixth highest percentage growth in its history, to close at 2,230.2.

Turnover topped 1.22 billion rupees with 43.1 million shares changing hands.

A total of 11,539 trades took place, the fourth highest ever number of trades to have been executed at the CSE, surpassing 11,369 trades executed in October 2007, the CSE said in a statement.

“Turnover was driven by the news of the final victory over the LTTE,” said Danushka Samarasinghe, head of research of stock brokering firm, Asia Securities.

“Therefore with the LTTE totally destroyed the general perception is that Sri Lankan will move into a new era with the economy also expected to pick-up largely on domestic consumption and infrastructure investments.”

News reports said the Tamil Tiger chief was gunned down whilst trying to escape from the Sri Lankan military.

His top lieutenants, intelligence head Pottu Amman and sea tiger leader, Soosai, were also killed by the security forces.

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