The fourth week after Hariri’s abrupt resignation held another bunch of optimism that was materialized by another progress on the Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE). As a matter of fact, the suspension of Lebanon’s Prime Minister’s resignation last week managed to spur hopes on the Lebanese scene. The recovery continued this week and was sustained by Baabda’s fruitful talks between the president Michel Aoun and the main parliamentary blocks. All of this was reflected by the BLOM Stock Index (BSI) that registered another weekly progress, albeit slower, of 0.63% to 1,115.82 points. Accordingly, the market capitalization reached $9.89B this Friday, up by $61.68M from last week.
Still, trading activity was slow over the week’s four sessions, which could be partly explained by investors adopting a wait and see approach in order to embrace any future developments on the political front. Hence, an average of 70,866 shares worth $771,935 was traded during the week compared to 261,183 shares worth $5.01M the week before.
Regionally, the S&P Pan Arab Composite Large Mid Cap Index and the S&P AFE40 went up by respective weekly levels of 0.9% and 0.07%, while the MSCI Emerging Markets Index lost a weekly 2.7%.
In the Arab world, the biggest gainers of the week were the stock markets of Lebanon, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, which respectively registered growth rates of 0.63%, 0.59% and 0.46%.
Meanwhile, the week’s biggest losers were the stock markets of Qatar, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that fell by 0.87%, 0.65% and 0.28%, respectively.
On the BSE, the banking sector accounted for 51.77% of total traded value while the real estate and industrial sectors accounted for the remaining 40.76% and 7.47%, respectively.
In the banking sector, BLOM Bank’s GDR and listed shares rose by 2.04% and 1.47% to $11.49 and $11.06, respectively. Bank Audi’s GDR shares also added 1.82% to $5.60.
On the London Stock Exchange, BLOM Bank’s GDR shares increased 2.73% to reach $11.30.
As for the BLOM Preferred Shares Index (BPSI), it fell by 0.07% to reach 105.09 points as Bank Audi’s Preferred G and I shares lost 0.40% and 0.59% to settle at $100.30 and $100.40, respectively.
As real estate stocks are renowned to be a political barometer in the country, investors’ concerns have apparently eased over this week as well. As a result, and after Solidere A and B shares’ rebound last week by respective 6.45% and 4.96%, the former class added another 1.26% to $8.02, while the latter class saw its price rise by 1.53% to $7.95.
In the industrial sector, Holcim shares lost 2.27% to settle at $14.66.
For the coming weeks, activity on the Lebanese bourse is expected to slow down ahead of Christmas and New Year’s holidays. However, a positive political shock may grow into good news to the Lebanese stock market and partially restore investors’ confidence in the upcoming period.