Lebanese equities saw improving demand this week mimicking the rally in global stock markets on major positive economic developments. For the week ending March 11, 2016, the average daily traded volume on the Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE) declined to 109,815 shares worth $698,106, down from last week’s average of 4.14M traded shares worth $39.35M, when 20.07M listed BLOM shares were traded at a price of $9.60/ per share. Nevertheless, the BLOM Stock Index (BSI) gained 0.31% to 1,152.69 points recovering the accumulated losses since the beginning of March. As for the market capitalization, it jumped by $29.33M to approach the $9.52B.
It was a positive week for emerging markets that benefited from the rallying commodity prices and the improving U.S. labor market. The bullish weekly progress of several indices outpaced that of the Lebanese gauge. In details, Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets Index (MSCI), the S&P Pan Arab Composite Large-Mid-Cap Index & the S&P AFE 40 Index posted respective weekly gains of 1.35%, 2.13% and 2.28%.
In the Arab world, the recovery of oil prices this week to a third month high was good news for most of the regional stock markets. As a matter of fact, Dubai, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were among the week’s top performers, registering 3.23%, 2.47% and 2.22% gains, respectively. However, Egypt’s bourse was this week largest winner as it recorded a 7.79% increase as investors’ welcomed the Egyptian central bank’s decision to lift the cap on cash deposits and withdrawals in foreign currencies in order to ease the shortage in foreign reserves.
As for the worst performers this week, Muscat, Bahrain and Amman were the only stock markets to post losses. While Muscat and Bahrain bourses revealed respective losses of 2.11% and 1.68%, Amman stock exchange witnessed a slight 0.68% weekly drop.
On the Beirut Stock Exchange, the banking sector accounted for 85.19% of the week’s traded value, while the real estate and industrial sectors contributed to the remaining 14.05% and 0.76%, respectively.
In the banking sector, the listed shares of Audi, Byblos and Bank of Beirut added 1.67% and 1.83% and 0.05% to $6.10, $1.67 and $18.80, respectively. The Global Depository Receipts (GDR) of BLOM also added a weekly 0.50% to $10.10. Meanwhile, the listed shares of BLC and BEMO dropped by 0.59% and 18.42% to end the week at $1.69 and $1.55, respectively.
On another front, the BLOM Preferred Shares Index (BPSI) steadied at 106.15 points this week.
On the London Stock Exchange (LSE), Audi GDRs saw a 0.50% weekly rise to $6.03, while Solidere GDRs lost 0.63% over the same period to settle at $9.45.
The real estate sector saw mixed performance this week as Solidere shares class “A” lost 0.21% to $9.67 while the class “B” rose 0.10% to $9.68.
In the industrial sector, HOLCIM shares went down to $14.39 on Thursday following the trade of 1,603 shares of worth $23,071. However, the stock price added 0.07% on Friday to close at last week’s price of $14.40.
In the coming weeks, investors will most probably remain on the sidelines in the absence of any positive economic and political news. However, any potential breakthrough in the presidential crisis, or any positive developments related to the diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia may positively impact trading activity on the BSE.