High trading volumes end the week in Beirut’s stock market
The last full trading week of 2000 witnessed volume on the Beirut bourse which shot-up 478 percent to over 1.2 million shares, but that did not reflect any sudden revitalization of the market nor any unusual festive spirit. An exceptionally large trade in Bank of Beirut on Wednesday, December 20, accounted for the rather abnormal volume level, while the only price movement registered throughout the week was confined to Solidere.
The story for Lebanese GDRs was not that positive, most heading down at a time of year when many foreign investors traditionally unwind positions in emerging markets.
Since the year-start, the BLOM Stock Index is down 18.5 percent, at 588.12, a figure unlikely to be much different when the year concludes in the coming abbreviated trading week. Having reached a new bottom earlier this month, investors will be hoping that the next year holds greater promise than the one gone-by as the government’s growth-oriented economic policy takes shape.
Three banks were traded on the bourse, but all at unchanged prices. Audi “C” got its foot in the door with trade of 10,288 shares on Friday, while Byblos “C” saw its only trading session fall earlier in the week on Tuesday, when 3,000 shares changed hands. The other bourse-listed bank traded was Bank of Beirut, which was the subject of a trade of 950,000 on Wednesday, rumored perhaps to be involving a strategic investor. BLOM and BLC GDRs slipped back this week, by 1.5 percent and 2.3 percent to $20.8 and $6.375 respectively, while Audi GDR remained stable at $16.15
Real estate giant Solidere saw a contraction in its activity compared to last week for both share classes. Solidere “A” ended a week of ups-and- downs to stabilize at its previous closing of $6.5 on total trade of 64,772 shares, while class “B” appreciated 5.4 percent to $7.375 on volume of 2,334. The stock will likely be welcoming of a new year free of any permit delays and signaling the launch of the important “Souks” project. Solidere’s greater exposure to foreign investors was felt by its GDR, dropping 3.5 percent to $6.125.
Ciments Libanais witnessed one of its active weeks, as 197,777 shares were traded at a steady price of $0.406. Ciments Blancs nominal was the only other industrial traded, as 61,854 shares were exchanged in a block trade. ¯ ( Banque du Liban et d'Outre-Mer Sal )
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)