Lebanese Stocks Finished the Week on a Positive Note

The successful completion of Lebanon’s municipality elections last Sunday may have partly spurred investors’ sentiment on the Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE) this week. The market witnessed greater daily average trade volumes of 178,679 shares worth $1.56M compared to 128,719 shares worth $898,943 in the previous week. This led the BLOM Stock Index (BSI) to increase by 0.41% and close at 1,155.17 points with the market capitalization rising by $38M to end the week at $9.54B.

Regionally, the Lebanese gauge outpaced this week each of the S&P Pan Arab Composite Large-Mid-Cap Index and the S&P AFE 40 Index that respectively lost 0.48% and 1.57%. However, the index lagged behind the Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets Index (MSCI) that edged up by a weekly 0.80%.

In the Arab world, mixed performance was depicted as stock markets saw disparate fluctuations ahead of the OPEC meeting on Thursday regarding a new oil production ceiling. As a result, Dubai, Qatar and Muscat bourses saw the biggest weekly losses of 2.63%, 1.89% and 1.60%, respectively.

In contrast, the Bahraini stock market was the week’s best performer after recording a weekly rise of 1.59%. The Egyptian and Jordanian stock exchanges followed and displayed respective 1.15% and 0.55% weekly gains.

Once again the banking sector spread its dominance over the market this week, accounting for 91.15% of total trades. BLOM listed shares added a weekly 0.1% this week to $9.96, whereas its GDRs lost ground recording a 0.49% slip from last week to $10.25. Audi listed and GDR shares showed positive performance this week as the former rose 1.69% to $6.00, while the latter increased by 2.00% to $6.12. Similarly, Byblos and Bank of Beirut common stocks improved from last week’s prices of $1.62 and $18.76 to $1.64 and $18.80 by the end of this week.

As for the BLOM Preferred Shares Index (BPSI), it revealed a weekly progress of 0.16% to 104.24 points. The progressing performance of the gauge was linked to the improving performance of the preferred shares of Audi, Byblos and BLOM. In details, Audi’s preferred “F” and “G” shares went up by 0.20% and 0.10% to close at $100.30 and $100.10, respectively. As for Byblos, the bank’s preferred 08 and 09 classes respectively added 0.10% and 0.80% to end the week $100.20 and $101.00. In addition, BLOM preferred 2011 shares registered a 0.10% weekly increase to $10.05.

In the real estate sector, Solidere class “A” gained 0.51% to close at $9.84, while the class “B” lost a weekly 1.10% to settle at $9.88.

On the London Stock Exchange (LSE), BLOM and Audi GDRs added 0.49% and 2.00% to end the week at $10.35 and $6.12, respectively.

Even though the Beirut Stock Exchange recovered some of its previous losses this week, the bourse’s year-to-date performance remained negative at 1.23%. In the coming week, trading activity is expected to reveal a potential slowdown as it coincides with the beginning of the month of Ramadan and the approach of the summer holidays.

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