Lebanese Stocks on Track for Third Consecutive Gain Ahead of Mid-Year Results

For the third week in a row, Lebanon’s stock market managed to end the week in the green. This was mirrored by the BLOM Stock Index (BSI) that rose by 0.13% from last week to reach 1,157.94 points. Meanwhile, the Beirut Stock Exchange’s (BSE) market cap moved from $9.55B on July 15th to $9.58B on Friday.

Despite the gauge’s weekly progress, trading activity seemed to have contracted as revealed by the average traded volume that went down from 256,944 shares worth $1.26M last week to 66,626 shares worth $651,405 this week.

When compared to regional and emerging markets, the BSI outpaced S&P Pan Arab Composite LargeMidCap Index that lost 0.16% this week. However, the Lebanese index failed to beat each of the Morgan Stanley (MSCI) emerging index and the S&P AFE40, which respectively posted weekly gains of 0.61% and 0.35%.

Mixed performance characterized Arab bourses this week. Dubai stock exchange was the week’s biggest gainer recording a 2.08% progress and was tracked by the Qatari and Jordanian bourses, which posted respective increases of 1.01% and 0.43% from last week’s levels.

In contrast, Egypt’s stock market showed the worst performance this week after registering a 1.93% weekly drop. This was mainly linked to the Egyptian pound nearing a record low value on the black market at 11.75 to the dollar. In addition, rising expectations of an approaching second round of devaluation to support Egypt’s foreign currency shortage also took its toll on trading activity this week. On a separate note, negative performance was also depicted on each of Bahraini and Saudi stock markets that recorded weekly declines of 1.06% and 0.91%.

Back to the Lebanese market, banking stocks seized 71.34% of the total value traded this week, while the real estate and industrial stocks accounted for the remaining 26.78% and 1.88%, respectively.

In the banking sector, BLOM GDR gained 0.10% to $10.06 while the bank’s common stock lost 0.40% to $9.91. Audi GDR dropped by 0.81% to $6.15, while Bank Byblos common shares rose 1.22% to $1.66.

Meanwhile, the BLOM Preferred Shares Index (BPSI) slipped by a mere 0.02% to 104.24 points on the back of a 0.20% drop in the closing price of BLOM preferred shares 2011 to $10.00.

With respect to the real estate sector, Solidere class “A” and “B” shares rose by 0.62% and 2.11% to $9.75 and $9.67, respectively.

Bearing in mind that HOLCIM, Lebanon’s listed cement company, declared last Friday a profit of $14.27M by May this year, the company’s shares saw a 2.41% weekly drop to end the session of Friday 22nd settling at $14.15.

On the London Stock Exchange, Audi GDRs registered a 0.81% weekly loss to $6.15, while Solidere GDRs rose by 4.38% to end the week at $10.00.

To sum up, the correction move witnessed on the Beirut Stock Exchange during the past three weeks is expected to continue in the coming week. In fact, investors are expected to react in the coming weeks depending on the mid-year results of Lebanon’s three largest banks.

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