Another Weekly Gain for the Lebanese Bourse, Diverging From the Waning Global Markets

For the second week running, the Lebanese stock market managed to show positive weekly performance on the account of the better than expected results by Lebanese banks and despite the continuing retreat in global equity markets. The BLOM Stock Index (BSI) ended the week 0.28% higher at 1,162.40 points after reaching its highest level since January 18, 2016 on Friday. Hence, the BSI managed, over this week’s four sessions, to narrow its year to date loss to a mere 0.61%. The daily average volume of trades almost doubled from last week’s level of 116,653 shares worth $1.15M to 218,411 shares worth $2.01M. With respect to the market capitalization, it rose on a weekly basis by $26.94M to $9.60B.

On the international and regional equity markets, the partial recovery witnessed last week on fading expectations of the Fed raising interest rates this year was counterbalanced by substantial selloff trends that reflected investors’ flight to safety. In fact, concerns regarding global economic growth amid bearish oil prices hit most of the global indices of which S&P Pan Arab Composite Large-Mid-Cap Index that shed by a weekly 3.30% compared to respective drops of 3.58% and 3.03% for the Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets Index (MSCI) and the S&P AFE 40 Index.

The Arab stock markets followed the trend as most of the bourses dipped into the red. Oil-exporting Saudi Arabia and Dubai show respective weekly declines of 5.23% and 2.52% on skepticism of weakening oil prices. However, the biggest decline was depicted on the Egyptian stock exchange that revealed a 6.26% weekly drop. In contrast, and besides the Lebanese stock exchange, Muscat and Amman were the sole weekly winners recording respective gains of 2.24% and 0.12%.

On the Beirut Stock Exchange, the banking sector accounted for 93.92% of the week’s traded value, while the real estate and industrial sectors respectively contributed to 5.90% and 0.18% of the total.

In the banking sector, the listed shares of BLOM, Audi and Byblos revealed positive performance as they improved by 2.13%, 1.15% and 0.61% to settle at $9.60, $6.17 and $1.65, respectively. While the Global Depository Receipts (GDR) of BLOM rose by a weekly 2.04% to settle at $10.00, Bank of Beirut (BoB) listed shares registered a 0.27% weekly slip to $18.75.

On another front, the BLOM Preferred Shares Index (BPSI) remained at last week’s level of 106.01 points as no price changes were recorded on the Lebanese preferred shares this week.

Negative performance characterized the Lebanese real estate sector this week as both Solidere shares recorded weekly losses, yet remaining above the $10-mark. In details, the class “A” and “B” shares slipped by weekly 0.89%and 4.49% to $10.06 and $10.00, respectively.

In the industrial sector, HOLCIM shares decreased by 0.42% to end the week at $14.35.

As the Lebanese bourse remains intact to the global headwinds that characterized 2016 since its beginning, reaching a political consensus regarding the presidential elections will remain the main factor to shape the Beirut Stock Exchange’s performance in the coming period.




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