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Spiralling oil prices arouse interest in plantation sector

Stocks at the Colombo Stock Exchange moved up yesterday as interest picked up in plantations stocks and blue chip stocks. The ASPI gained 18 points (0.8 percent) for the day to close at 2,220 while the MPI gained 14 points to close at 2,483(up 0.6 percent).

Turnover for the day was Rs 523 million with John Keells Holdings contributing Rs 215 million to the day's business. JKH closed up Rs 2.00 at 115.00.

Crude oil prices which climbed 61 percent this year, traded above $72 a barrel in New York for the first time in seven months on growing optimism about an economic recovery and as a weaker dollar drives investors toward commodities.

The plantations index gained 7.3 percent as frenzied buying came in late in the day. The day's top gainers were all from the plantation sector with Horana Plantations Namunukula Plantations leading the pack. Horana gained a massive 16 percent to close at Rs 19.75, while it was up 15 percent to close at Rs 23.00. Hapugastenne Plantations gained 12 percent to close at Rs 29.50, while Udapussellawa Plantations and Madulsima Plantations both gained 11 percent to close at Rs 23.25 and Rs 13.00.

Interest was also seen in NDB Bank, which saw turnover of Rs 21 million. The share gained Rs 1.75 to end at Rs 121.50. Environmental Resources gained a rupee on turnover of Rs 20 million to close at Rs 30.75.

Source: First Guardian Equities

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