Real Estate Stocks Remain the Top Market Maker on the Beirut Stock Exchange

The BLOM Stock Index (BSI) retreated from 629.46 points by April 30th 2020, to settle at 619.35 points by the week ending May 08th 2020. The Market capitalization on the Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE) followed suit, dropping by a weekly 1.6% to $6.35B during the same period.

However, the overall performance of the trading activity witnessed higher volume and values of trade, which climbed from last week’s 66,997shares worth $678,219 to 250,868 shares trading this week at a value of $1.13M by May 08th.

On a regional level, the performance of the bourses within the Arab region remains subdued, especially as a result of the coronavirus economic spillovers. As such, prime regional indices such as the S&P AFE 40, the S&P Pan Arab Composite Large Mid Cap Index as well as the MSCI Emerging Markets Index recorded declines across the board, declining by a weekly 3.58%, 4.47% and 3.03%.

Moreover, the worst performing bourses this week were those of the KSA, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Egypt and Bahrain. These recorded weekly drops of 5.11%, 4.07%, 3.8%, 3.49%,and 2.21%, respectively. In fact, the Saudi Finance Minister announced earlier this week the need for “painful measures”, i.e. deep spending cuts, to fight the coronavirus and oil prices crash. Meanwhile, the bourse of Qatar added a weekly 1.13% while that of Tunisia increased by a marginal 0.54% over the period.

On the Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE), the trading was split between the real estate sector grasping 71.3% of total value, and the banking sector which composed 28.7%. It is worthy to note that despite some trade activity on banks’ shares listed on the BSE in the past few weeks, the bulk of the trading since November 2019 has been focused on real estate. This goes hand-in-hand with the preference of wealthy depositors towards diversifying their investments since the October crisis erupted, partly in attempt to avoid deposit haircuts which have been raised on several fronts and occasions after the country announced its default on March 07th 2020.

The trading details however reveal that Solidere shares in the real estate sector, i.e. Solidere “A” and  Solidere “B” this week fell by 1.97% and 3.18%, to close on May 08th at $11.93 and $11.86, respectively.

Meanwhile, in the Banking sector, the price changes worth noting are:

  • BLOM Listed shares, which rose by a weekly 1.86% to $3.28 by May 08th ;
  • Audi Listed shares dropped by 7.69% to $1.2

Also worth noting that Audi Bank GDR shares on the London Stock Exchange also fell by 26.67% to end the week at $1.20.

As for the Blom Preferred shares Index (BPSI), it retreated from last week’s 66.67 points to 66.46points, owing to a 1.48% drop in the price of Audi Bank’s Preferred “I” shares which closed the week at $49.95/share.

Lebanon sent its official request this week asking for the IMF’s financial assistance. This request was accompanied by a government reform plan that has nonetheless propagated mixed views and responses in the local and international markets. Therefore, the trading performance in the coming week is expected to transcribe the response of the IMF to Lebanon on supporting it and also on the developments in relation to the economic reform plan, in addition to the pace of depreciation of the Lebanese pound against the dollar.

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