Sri Lankan stocks weaken amid foreign selling

Feb 26, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan shares lost ground Thursday, with the benchmark index slipping below the 1,700 point mark amid heavy foreign selling, brokers said. There was also active trading in Lanka India Oil Corporation which ended up 25 cents at 17.50 rupees.

In forex markets the US dollar fell as low as 115.30 rupees in the value tomorrow market with state banks on the buying side, dealers said.

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The All Share Price Index lost 0.45 percent (7.70 points) to end at 1,698.60 while the more liquid Milanka shed 0.51 percent (9.17 points) to close at 1,779.54.

Turnover was 275 million rupees.

“Heavy foreign selling was seen today with a net outflow of 49.42 million rupees,” Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said.

John Keells Holdings was the most actively traded stock with over 1.4 million shares changing hands, adding 86 million rupees to the day’s turnover.

The stock ended down one rupee at 60 rupees.

Bartleet Mallory Stockbrokers said the improved turnover was a result of three block deals that went through during the day of shares of Union Assurance, JKH and Commercial Bank.

Lanka Cement was again heavily traded, ending up 25 cents at 13.25 rupees.