The Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE) underwent a week of profit taking on Audi stocks, sending the BLOM Stock Index (BSI) 0.98% lower following five weeks of improving performance. Accordingly, the index ended the week at 1,173.08 points, tightening its year-to-date gain to 0.30%. As for the market capitalization, it decreased by $96.07M to $9.68B. Cross Trades over Byblos common stock and Solidere class “B” this week lifted the average volume of traded shares from $81,366 worth $691,984 to 178,851 shares valued at $1.67M.
Most of the regional indices revealed progressing performance, beating the Lebanese equity benchmark by the end of this week. In details, the S&P Pan Arab Composite Large-Mid-Cap Index, the S&P AFE 40 and the Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets Index (MSCI) improved by weekly 2.70%, 2.68% and 4.47%, respectively.
The continuous improvement in oil prices that approached the $45-mark this week was mainly behind the positive weekly results of most Arab stock markets, mainly those of oil exporting countries. Dubai and Abu Dhabi’s led the week’s gains revealing respective rises of 4.75% and 4.21%. Saudi Arabia followed with a 4.01% weekly progress, while Omani and Kuwaiti equities added 2.69% and 1.34%, respectively.
Besides the BSE scoring the worst performance this week, profit- taking was also the main reason behind the losses occurred on the Jordanian, Tunisian and Egyptian stock exchanges, which respectively registered weekly declines of 0.97%, 0.76%, and 0.21%.
On the Beirut Stock Exchange, the banking sector took 68.18% of total traded value, while the real estate and industrial sectors contributed for the remaining 30.74% and 1.07% shares, respectively.
When it comes to the banking sector, BLOM shares saw a positive performance this week ahead of the dividend distribution that should occur next week. The bank’s listed and Global Depository Receipts (GDR) added 1.30% and 3.01% to $10.94 and $10.61, respectively. In contrast, Audi’s shares experienced weekly drops, bearing in mind that the bank’s dividends’ distribution for 2015 took place on Thursday. In this context, Audi listed and GDR shares decreased by 3.17% and 6.40% to settle at $5.81 and $5.85, respectively. Similarly, Byblos listed shares witnessed a 0.59% weekly slip to $1.69.
Mixed performance characterized the Lebanese preferred shares over the week. However, the BLOM Preferred Shares Index (BPSI) settled at 106.22 points by the end of the week, revealing a 0.13% weekly drop. In fact, the weekly increases in Byblos Preferred 09 shares and BLC preferred “A” shares failed to counterbalance the tumbling prices of most of Bank Audi’s preferred shares. In details, Byblos preferred shares class 09 added 1.68% to $103.10, while BLC preferred “A” class rose by 0.50% to $100.50. As for Bank Audi, the preferred shares class “F” and “G” respectively lost 2.53% and 1.19% to $100.10 and $100.00. Worth mentioning that BLOM Preferred 11 shares ceased trading on Friday to avoid the overlap caused by their record date and payment date falling on the same day.
In the real estate sector, Solidere stocks also witnessed disparate performance on the Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE) with the “A” class adding 0.20% to $10.00 and the class “B” losing 1.00% to $9.90.
On the London stock Exchange (LSE), 3 out of the 4 listed GDRs ended the week in the red. In details, Solidere GDRs decreased by 0.99% to $10.00. In addition, the GDRs of BLOM and Audi lost 0.92% and 3.94% to $10.80 and $5.85, respectively.
Profit taking appetite is expected to continue in the coming week on forthcoming dividend distributions of BLOM and Solidere. However, the wave of profit taking is likely to be replaced by a wait and see approach ahead of Easter holidays.