The Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE) bounced back after 3 weeks of declines, as the banks that released their financial statements for the fourth quarter, posted sustainable growth in earnings. The BLOM Stock Index (BSI) recorded a 0.20% weekly increase to 1,170.93 points.
Trade activity dropped over the week, with an average of 101,620 shares worth $603,794 being traded each day, compared to an average volume of 134,881 shares worth $780,569 the previous week. As for the market capitalization, it widened by $19.36M to $9.78B.
Among its regional peers, the BSI lagged the S&P Pan Arab Composite Large Midcap Index and the S&P AFE 40 Index, which gained 2.19% and 1.11%, respectively. However, the BSI was able to outperform the Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets Index (MSCI), which lost 1.05% compared to last week.
In the Arab World, the Saudi Arabian stock market was the best performer during the week with a 5.42% increase, as the petrochemicals sector surges after OPEC’s secretary-general said that oil prices might jump if investment in new supplies became too low. Qatar’s bourse and Tunisia’s financial market followed, posting weekly rises of 1.72% and 1.04% respectively.
On the other hand, Dubai’s financial market was the worst performer, dropping 5.42%, weighed down by weaker crude oil prices, despite better-than-expected 4th quarter company results. Abu Dhabi’s stock market and Kuwait’s stock market declined 1.55% and 1.38%, respectively.
Back to the BSE, the real estate sector contributed 72.52% of total traded value, followed by the banking sector with a share of 27.48%.
In the banking sector, positive earnings for the fourth quarter of 2014 lifted BLOM listed shares and Audi listed shares by 0.56% and 0.16% to $8.95, and $6.11, respectively. Similarly, Byblos listed shares added 0.62% to $1.63. In contrast, BLOM GDR shares lost 0.10% to $9.96.
The BLOM Preferred Stock Index (BPSI) also posted a weekly increase of 0.02% to 105.92 points. The preferred shares of BLC class “C” gained 1% to $101.
In the real estate sector, Solidere shares class “A” witnessed weekly declines of 0.02% to end the week at $10.94, while Solidere “B” shares gained 0.73%, but remained below the $11 mark at $10.99.
Looking ahead, activity on the BSE is expected to improve however marginally as the uncertainty surrounding political and security situations may continue to weigh on investor sentiment.