Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sri Lanka bourse up on bank, telcos

* Thin trade, investors still on sidelines

* Rupee weaker on importer dlr demand - dealers

 May 15 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's stock market closed slightly higher on Tuesday on select large cap share buying, but investor concerns about a suspected insider deal and economic woes resulted in thin trade on low volumes.

The main share index on Tuesday edged up 0.19 percent, or 9.55 points, to 5,125.86, the second straight rise.

The bourse has fallen 6.34 percent over the last nine sessions through Friday as investors sold their stakes over worries about a defaulted share deal on The Finance Company , which is now under a regulatory investigation.

Despite a 72 percent drop in March quarter earnings the country's top fixed line telephone operator Sri Lanka Telecom PLC gained 1.84 percent to 38.80 rupees a share.

Analysts attributed the gain to better than expected quarterly results for the company.

The biggest lender Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC, which posted a 38 percent growth in net profit, closed flat at 105 rupees a share.

The daily turnover was 402.1 million Sri Lanka rupees ($3.12 million), well below this year's daily average of 1.1 billion rupees.

The index was still in the over sold region on Tuesday with the 14-day Relative Strength Index at 23.348, below the lower neutral range of 30, Reuters data showed. It is one of the worst performers among Asian markets with a 15.6 percent loss so far this year.

The rupee ended weaker at 128.90/129.00 against the dollar from Monday's close of 128.50/60, on importer dollar demand.

Dealers expect the rupee will depreciate further as the central bank keeps policy rates unchanged on Friday amid heavy depreciation and credit growth pressure. ($1 = 128.7500 Sri Lanka rupees) (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

source - www.reuters.com

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