Colombo stocks surge, after weeks of negative trends
2008-11-27 17:25:17

Colombo stock prices on Thursday made a stunning return to form, many weeks after negative returns, but the market said it had little to do with external factors, the conflict or the global economic crisis.

The indices, for the first time in many weeks, ended higher with the All Share Index up 54.59 points to 1,625.88 while the Milanka gained 66.67 points to end at 1,830.75. Turnover was a reasonable Rs 165 million. Over the past few weeks, the trend has been for the market to slightly show gains in the morning and fall at the day’s close.

“The ‘roll’ in the market today had nothing to do with the external environment (war, etc). There were a few portfolio managers buying into more stock, a practice seen towards the end of every month,” one broker said. Analysts said there was no good news to cheer the market apart from government claims that the army had re-captured the LTTE-held town of Killinochchi, which is yet to be officially announced. Government and public attention was overnight shifted to the crisis in Mumbai where a series of terrorist attacks left more than 100 dead,

The turnover was largely propped up by two million shares of Distilleries trading at Rs 53, up Rs 1.75 from last levels. Analysts said there was foreign selling in the stock much of which was taken by SLIC (an associate company). The Distilleries transaction recorded more than Rs 100 million in turnover.

Most stocks gained with JKH seeing prices marginally up by 25 cents to Rs 62.50 on a day in which a fundamental rights case filed by public interest activist Vasudeva Nanayakkara against special BOI concessions being given to LMS, the JKH subsidiary, ended without proceeding further. Nanayakkara’s lawyer informed the Supreme Court that they were withdrawing the application as relief in this issue had already been granted in the earlier LMS privatization case. JKH lawyers didn’t object to the move.

In another reasonably large transaction, 242,300 shares of Associated Property Development Ltd traded higher by Rs 8 to Rs 60 while 18,300 shares of Commercial Bank selling at Rs 3.50 higher to Rs 79.50 was also a notable deal..

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