Funeral-like mood activity in Lebanese equities
(Banque du Liban et d’Outre-Mer) – Despite 3 banks releasing interim results within a space of a week, activity in Lebanese equities was in its now customary funereal-like mood. Over half of the volume of 235,663 on the bourse represented an OTC trade in Lebanon Holdings, continuing-on from last week’s buy-back of shares. The BLOM Stock Index slipped further in reflection of Solidere “A” edging back, while Lebanese GDRs were generally little moved. Quite apart from summer being fully upon us, general investor sentiment towards traded Lebanese equities appears simply to be – let’s see some signs of you operating in a growth environment. Alas the fortunes of the macro-economy is out of the hands of the Lebanese corporate sector, but unfortunately the effectiveness and capacity of those actually responsible for its management is and has been open to question.
Trading in bank shares was featureless this week, unaffected by further half-year results releases. The week started with BLOM, announcing on Monday a 14.6 percent rise in its first half profits to $39.25 million, and ended on Friday with a completely opposite scenario for Audi, which posted net income 10.9 percent lower than the year before at $18.32 million. BLOM’s GDR was unmoved, ending the week at $22.5, while Audi’s lost 0.94 percent to close at $19. Trading in Bank of Beirut was quite active this week with a turnover of 82,545, although its price could not benefit from last week’s profits announcement, which came out only slightly higher than the year earlier period.
Trading in Solidere shares was at some of its lowest levels ever, as a total of 9,288 shares were traded in both classes. With no new developments expected in the near future, the company’s share price is likely to stagnate for the time being in the absence of a major shake-up of the economy or a surprise peace deal. Supply pressure on Class “A”, exceeding 150,000 shares, pushed its price down to $6.75 while a surplus of demand lifted class “B’s” price to $7.125 on Monday before it dropped back to $7 by the end of the week. The company’s GDR rose to $6.35 on Thursday before dropping again to $6 on Friday.
Car dealer RYMCO witnessed a 3.05 percent rise in its price to $2.063,on trade of 700 shares.