Blom Stock Index Weighed Down by Banking Stocks

The BLOM Stock Index (BSI) lost 0.19% over the past week to reach 1,137.53 as most banking stocks declined due to distribution of dividends. The market capitalization also fell from last week’s $11.23 billion to $11.21 billion.

The average traded volume and value grew from last week’s 125,968 shares worth $733,285 to 210,366 shares worth $1.45 million this week.

The S&P Pan Arab Composite Large Mid Cap Index, the S&P AFE 40 and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index were up this past week with respective upturns of 3.76%, 3.12% and 0.62%, respectively.

Regionally, Saudi Arabia was the largest gainer over the week with a 6.08% increase on account of higher oil prices and the expectations of upcoming fresh foreign inflows as Saudi Arabia is set to join the FTSE Russel’s Emerging Market Index in March 2019. Tunis was also a gainer with the stock market’s index rising by a weekly 1.73%.

On the downside, the Dubai Financial Markets and the Egyptian bourse dropped by 1.62% and 0.91%, respectively.

On the Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE), the banking sector grasped 73.33% of the total traded value followed by 26.50% accounted for by the real estate sector and a minor 0.18% grasped by the industrial sector.

In the banking sector, BLOM Bank’s GDR shares lost 2.78% to $11.20 while the bank’s listed shares grew by 1.27% to $11.19.

Bank Audi’s GDR shares gained a weekly 1.05% to $5.75 while the bank’s listed shares slid by 2.38% to $5.75 as well.

Byblos Bank’s listed shares declined by 1.19% to $1.66.

As for the BLOM Preferred Shares Index (BPSI), it gained a weekly 0.09% to 107.74 points as the 0.97% increase in the share price of Bank of Beirut’s preferred K shares to $26.00 overshadowed the 0.10% slip in the share price of Bank Audi’s Preferred I shares to $100.00.

In the real estate sector, Solidere A and B shares gained 1.35% and 2.63% to end the week at $8.25 and $8.21, respectively.

In the industrial sector, HOLCIM’s listed shares rose by 2.43% to $14.75.

On the London Stock Exchange, announcements of dividend distribution and the ensuing ex-dividend dates led to drops in the GDRs of Lebanese Banks; BLOM Bank’s GDR shares declined from last week’s $12.40 to $11.20 while the GDR shares of Bank Audi and Bank Byblos declined by weekly rates of 2.61% and 1.19% to reach $5.60 and $1.66, respectively.

After the end of the Easter holidays and the dividend distributions, investors will be keeping a close eye on the buildup to the parliamentary elections.

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