The Lebanese ministers acknowledged the urgency of economic reforms by the week ending April 18. The government also announced possible cuts to employee wages and benefits as means of reducing the budget deficit. Hence, the BLOM Stock Index (BSI) lost 3.48% over the past week to reach 911.46 points. Accordingly, the market capitalization slid from last week’s $9.18B to $8.47B this week.
Meanwhile, the average traded volume and value of shares went from 31,678 shares worth $188,241 last week to 42,720 shares worth $216,219 this week.
Regional indices registered shy weekly upturns with the S&P AFE 40, the S&P Pan Arab Composite Large Mid Cap and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index rising by 1.55%, 1.43% and 0.03% over the past week.
In the Arab World, the Abu Dhabi and Saudi stock markets registered respective weekly rises of 2.71% and 1.02%, while the Egyptian bourse slipped by 0.77%.
On the Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE), the banking sector accounted for 56% of total traded value, while the real estate sector grasped the remaining share of 44%.
In the banking sector, shares Lebanese commercial banks plunged. This can be largely attributed to the banks’ dividend payments this week.. As such, BLOM Bank’s GDR and BLOM Bank listed shares fell by 11.37% and 8.31% to stand at $7.95 and $8.50, respectively. Moreover, Bank Audi GDR and listed shares dropped by 1.80% and 5.78% to reach $4.90 and $4.40, respectively. Nonetheless, Byblos listed shares slightly rose from $1.34 to $1.36, prior to the bank’s ex-dividend date.
On the London Stock Exchange, BLOM GDR shares slid by 1.67% to $8.85.
In the real estate sector, both Solidere A and B shares plunged by 6.37% and 14.24% to $5.29 and$4.88, respectively, as political uncertainty persisted.
As for the BLOM Preferred shares Index (BPSI), it rose by 0.41% to 87.36 points, as Byblos preferred 2009 shares increased by 3.88% to $78.95.
In the upcoming weeks, the activity on the Beirut stock exchange is expected to remain subdued; however, investors will be monitoring the Lebanese cabinet’s new reforms.