The Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE) witnessed a pre-holiday boost this past week mainly on account of the strong performance in real estate shares Solidere A and B after the company announced earlier this week that it would distribute cash-dividends and stock-dividends as of October this year. Accordingly, the BLOM Stock Index (BSI) ended the week with a 0.57% upturn to 1,189.72 points. The average traded volume and value grew from last week’s 52,535 and $754,167 to 200,699 and $1,375,911, respectively. Accordingly, the market capitalization increased from $9.96B to $10.02B.
The BSI was however outperformed by the S&P Pan Arab Composite Large-Mid-Cap Index, which gained a weekly 1.13%, by the Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets Index (MSCI) which gained a weekly 1.98% and by the S&P AFE 40 Index which gained a weekly 1.59%.
On the regional front, the top performing bourse was the Kuwaiti bourse which rose by 2.23% and was followed by the Dubai bourse which grew by 2.11% and the Abu Dhabi bourse which added a weekly 1.81%. Muscat’s bourse closely followed with a 1.80% weekly gain. Lesser gains of 1.08% and 0.60% were seen on the Qatari and Saudi stock markets. The Tunisian bourse was the only Arab stock exchange to close in the red with a 0.62% decline.
Back on the Beirut Stock Exchange, the only banking stock to close in the green was BLOM’s listed stock which ended the week with a 0.41% upturn to $9.70. As for preferred shares, a poor performance was registered across the board with the BLOM Preferred Shares Index (BPSI) losing a weekly 0.11% to 104.61 points. Bank Audi’s preferred F and G shares each shed 0.10%, ending the week at $100.50 and $100.10, respectively. Bank Byblos’ preferred 08 and 09 shares also shed 0.50% and 0.10% to settle at $100.20 and $100.90, respectively. Bank BEMO’s preferred 2013 shares registered a 0.99% drop to $100.00.
The highest upturns in share price were seen in the real estate sector with Solidere’s A and B shares rising by a weekly 2.58% and 2.29% to close at $11.91 and $11.61, respectively. On the London Stock Exchange, Solidere shares added 2.20% to $11.60. Earlier this week, Solidere announced the distribution of 1 Solidere A/B share for every 50 Solidere shares of the same class in addition to a cash dividend of $0.10 per share.
In the industrial sector, HOLCIM shares gained a weekly 2.01% to reach $15.20.
Whether the upward trend in real estate shares will continue to boost the BSE after the Eid holiday remains to be seen, especially if considerations regarding the current political inertia regain center stage.