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DateLine Wednesday, 14 February 2007

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Historic day for Colombo Bourse

ASPI crosses 3,000 milestone :

COLOMBO: The stock market continued to record high turnover levels and the indices reached new highs as investors chased fundamentally strong counters yesterday.

The All Share Price Index surged past the 3,000 mark for the first time in history as highly enthusiastic locals boosted the turnover to reach an impressive Rs. 1.6 billion at the close. This was more than three times last year's average daily trading volume of around Rs.400 million.

Analysts said the present performance of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is a sign of improved investor confidence due to positive political developments coupled with strong corporate results.

The ASPI closed at 3,016.42 points gaining 22.65 points while the Milanka Price Index gained 34.20 points to close at 4,194.34 points. This surpassed the previous life closing high of 2,993.77 points hit on Monday.

Once again it was Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) which mainly attracted investor interest and the counter reached a high of Rs. 38.75 before settling down at Rs.37.75. Over 8.1 million SLT shares traded during the day.

The company recorded impressive financial results during the last quarter. Shares in Dialog Telekom rose 0.9 percent to Rs.28 while fuel retailer Lanka IOC rose 5.15 per cent to Rs.35.75. Over 4.1 million Dialog shares were traded.

Associated Motorways contributed to the bulk of the turnover mainly due to a major shareholder of the company selling 2.27 million shares amounting to a four percent stake. The buyer was the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).

The CSE in a press release said that the market has recorded an average daily turnover of Rs. 776.8 million for 2007 till yesterday.

"This is a very healthy turnover level following the conclusion of a very successful year 2006. If this trend continues the market will conclude another record breaking year," Angelo Ranasinghe of Bartleet Mallory Stock Brokers said.

"The market is very active on good earnings. Most investors are picking shares looking at the earnings," said Reshan Kurukulasuriya, vice president at DFCC Stockbrokers in Colombo. "There was buying right across the board with good turnover," Kurukulasuriya said.

Colombo has remained one of the most vibrant stock markets in the region in the last few years. The Colombo Stock Exchange rose more than 40 per cent during 2006 on solid earnings by local companies and investors looking for better returns.

The rupee closed unchanged at 108.58/108.62 per dollar from Monday's close. Call rates transacted in the brokers' market rose to 13.586 percent compared to Monday's 13.113 per cent.

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