Palestine Securities Exchange closes busy trading week ahead of Eid Al-Adha holiday
Against a backdrop of increasing political and military tension, the Palestine Securities Exchange (PSE) had a fairly busy trading week. All in all, a little more than 2.57 million shares changed hands, valued at JD5.57 million, helping the Al Quds Index advance by 1.52% to 285.89. The PSE will be closed for Eid Al-Adha holiday from Wednesday 19 January 2005 to Sunday 23 January 2005 and will resume trading on Monday 24 January 2005.
The market's two pillars, the Palestine Development and Investment Co. (PADICO) and Palestine Telecommunications Co. (PALTEL), witnessed some brisk activity this week, as investors preempted corporate announcements concerning their 2004 results. PADICO had a little more than 0.79 million of its shares traded, which allowed the stock to advance by 3% to US$1.48. Meanwhile, PALTEL is expected to reveal better than expected profits for 2004. PALTEL was one of the week's biggest advancers as it jumped by 4% to JD5.30, as more than 0.27 million shares changed hands.
Birzeit Pharmaceutical Co. (BPC) commenced trading this past Sunday. BPS opened at JD2.02 and witnessed active trading in its first trading session as 216 transaction were executed. According to BPC's management, the firm's net profit has grown by 15% annually over the past six years, and its net income for 2004 should exceed JD2.5 million. A little more than 1.43 million of its shares were traded this week and the stock closed at JD2.50, which would put the stock at a trailing P/E of around 10x.
National Insurance Co. (NIC) barely budged as it closed at JD3.60; Meanwhile, NIC's management declared that it will recommend a cash dividend of JD0.15 per share for 2004. On the other hand, Jerusalem Cigarette Co. (JCC) advanced 3% to JD3.50 on thin volumes.
On the macro front, with the new leadership in place and new strategies for reform in the forefront, the Palestinian economy could witness a tangible pick up during 2005. The Japanese government pledged its support for the Palestinian National Authority and allocated US$60 million in an aid to the PNA.