Easter Holidays & Lebanese Banks’ Announcement of Ex-dividend Dates Weighed Down on the Blom Stock Index

 Over the past two weeks ending April 13, 2018, the BLOM Stock Index (BSI) fell by 3.93% to close at 1,139.7 points. In fact, the recorded downtick is partly attributed to the Easter holidays during which trade activity on the BSE was halted; however, it is also interesting to note that in the run up to the CEDRE conference held on Apr. 6th in Paris, the performance of the index was improving owing to the optimistic outlook on Lebanon securing $10B in infrastructure funding to boost the economy. Nonetheless, the BSI began to contract earlier this week as the major Lebanese banks: BLOM, Audi, and Byblos declared their ex-dividend dates.

Against this backdrop, the market capitalization also shrank from $11.69B on March 29th to $11.23B, this week.

In fact, an average of 125,968 shares worth $733,285 was traded this week, compared to 117,272 shares worth $953,858 two weeks ago.

The S&P Pan Arab Composite Large Mid Cap Index and the S&P AFE 40 registered weekly downticks of 0.19% and 0.18% over the past two weeks, respectively, while the MSCI Emerging Markets Index marginally climbed by 0.65% this week.

Regionally, the largest gainers over the past two weeks were the bourses of Qatar, Dubai, and Egypt which respectively rose by 4.27%, 2.25% and 1.79%. Meanwhile, the biggest losers were the financial markets of Bahrain, KSA, and Morocco which respectively lost 1.8%, 0.96%, and 0.6% over the past two weeks.

On the Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE), the banking sector grasped 84.83% of the past two weeks total traded value, while the real estate (RE) sector and the industrial sectors each grasped a stake of 14.5% and 0.67%, respectively. 

In the banking sector, BLOM Bank’s GDR and listed shares fell over the past two weeks by 5.96% and 7.14% to end the week at $11.52 and $11.05, respectively. Moreover, Bank Audi GDR and listed shares decreased by 7.48% and 5% to stand at $5.69 and $5.89, respectively. Meanwhile, Byblos Bank’s listed shares rose by 3.7% over the same period, to $1.68 by April 13th.  

As for the BLOM Preferred Shares Index (BPSI), it remained unchanged over the last two weeks, standing at 107.64 points.

In the real estate sector, Solidere A and B shares both slumped by 4.35% and 6.87%, to stand at $8.14 and $8.00, respectively, by Apr. 13th.  

In the industrial sector, HOLCIM’s listed shares lost 1.03% to $14.40 while the nominal shares of Ciments Blancs recorded a growth rate of 7.28% over the past two weeks to $2.80.

On the London Stock Exchange, BLOM Bank’s GDR shares rose by 1.64% to $12.40. Meanwhile, Bank Audi’s GDR shares fell by a weekly 7.26% to $5.75.

The performance of the Lebanese bourse in the coming weeks will most probably overcome the Easter holiday effect, but two key factors to follow in the coming weeks are: Lebanon’s progress on the reforms attached to the $11B funding secured from CEDRE earlier this week, and the upcoming parliamentary elections in May 2018.

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