Sri Lankan stocks up 6.9-pct over week

CEAT Kelani Holdings Managing Director Ravi Dadlani (right) and Lanka Ashok Leyland CEO Umesh Gautham exchange the OEM agreement

Apr 24, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares closed up 1.94 percent on military gains Friday, amid optimistic sentiment among local investors which pushed the market up 6.9 percent over the week, brokers said.

Almost 1.5 million shares of Tokyo Cement non-voting shares changed hands at 10.25 foreign to local, in what seemed to be a strategic sale by a foreign fund, brokers said.

Tokyo Cement non-voting closed flat at 10.25, while Tokyo Cement voting shares gained 25 cents to close at 134.25.

“Positive sentiment will remain in the market in the coming days as well as the three decade war is coming to an end,” said Hulangamuwa.

“If the government could find a permanent peaceful settlement the much heavy defense budget could be diverted easily into more productive areas of the economy.”

Sri Lanka’s military is close to wiping out Tamil Tiger guerillas who have waged a three decade separatist war. The country is also going for regional polls on Saturday where the ruling coalition is widely expected to win.

Index-heavy JKH, which has interests in transport, finance, property development, retail and food processing sectors, gained 3.00 rupee to close at 68.00.

Foreigners bought 18.8 million rupees, while foreign selling amounted to 171.6 million, resulting an outflow of 152.8 million rupees.

Brokers say forex market developments may also induce some foreign investors to sell

Environmental Resource Holdings (formerly Walker and Greig) said it wanted to issue three new shares for every existing share that would raise 2,086 million at 20 rupee a share.

The company would also give warrants which can be exercised at 22 rupees in 2010 and 24 rupees in 2011 with each new share. Its now has 34,772,160 shares.

The firm said the money from the rights issue would be used for “various investment opportunities that meet with the company’s objectives and risk control activities.”

The rupee weakened to 120.70 levels against the US dollar, with a foreign bank on the buying side on Friday.

In afternoon trade the spot dollar was quoted at 120.20/50 levels after opening at 120.30/60 rupees.

Dealers said state bank activity was muted, though they bought dollars a day earlier just under 120.00 rupees.

Updated On Thursday stocks closed up 6.9 percent according to provisional data posted by the Colombo Stock Exchange.

The rupee weakened from 116.20 to 120.50 levels over the same period, ahead of an International Monetary Fund bailout.

The All Share Price Index of the Colombo stock exchange rose 1.94 percent (35.03 points) to end at 1,845.03 while the Milanka index of liquid stocks went up 3.34 percent (63.64 points) to close at 1,971.27.

Turnover reduced to 376.8 million rupees from 423.6 million a day earlier.

“There was mixed participation as a few institutional investors and high net worth individuals joined the market looking for fundamentally strong but discounted investment opportunities,” said Thakshila Hulangamuwa of Asha Phillip Securities.

A tranche of 1.16 million National Development Bank shares was bought at 90 rupees by a domestic player after a North American fund sold out, brokers said. The stock ended 1.50 rupees down to close 93.00.

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