Palestine Securities Exchange (PSE)
Palestine Securities Exchange (PSE)
Despite a hiccup in the middles of the week, the Al-Quds Index finished strong, gaining 2.81% to close at 698.01 points. Al-Quds Index was helped by the strong performance of the investment, service, and industrial sectors. Trading activity slowed down in comparison to the previous week, as the Average Daily Trading Volume (ADTV) dropped from US$14.3 million to US$7.6 million.
TOPPING THE CHARTS
The service index topped the charts, gaining 3.15% to close at 71.72 points. Palestine Telecommunications Group (PALTEL), which was the PSE’s most active stock, gained 3.40% to close at JD7.60 and led the sector; PALTEL will distribute JD0.25/share in cash dividends. Arab Hotels Co. (AHC) was the only other stock in the sector to gain, rising 1.18% to close at JD0.76. On the other extreme, Arab Palestinian Shopping Centers (PLAZA) was the PSE’s worst performer after dropping 9.72% to JD0.65. In other news, Palestine Electric Co. (PEC), which remained unchanged at US$1.10, became the first company in the sector to announce its 1Q08 results; PEC more than doubled its pre-tax profits to US$2.73 million.
PADICO LIFTS THE INVESTMENT SECTOR
The investment index gained 3.01% to close at 43.44 points, despite Palestine Development & Investment Co. (PADICO) being the only stock in the sector to record a significant increase; PADICO rose 3.88% to close at US$2.68. Three companies finished the week in the red, notably, Palestine Industrial Investment Co. (PIIC), which dropped 3.70% to JD0.78 and Union Construction & Investment (UCI), which dropped 2.53% to US$0.77.
BANKING 1Q08 RESULTS
Palestine Investment Bank (PIBC) announced US$2.20 million in pre-tax profits in 1Q08 compared to US$1.11 million in 1Q07; PIBC rose 1.82% to US$1.68. Al-Quds Bank for Development & Investment (QUDS), which dropped 3.45% to close at US$1.12, reported US$0.11 million in net losses in 1Q08 compared to US$0.36 million in pre-tax profits in 1Q07. Arab Islamic Bank (AIB), which rose 4.40% to close at US$1.90, reported an improvement in pre-tax profits from US$1.30 million in 1Q07 to US$1.81 million in 1Q08. In other news, Al-Rafah Microfinance Bank (AMB) led the sector after gaining 5.38% to close at US$0.98.
The industrial sector is waking-up. The sector’s index gained 1.79% to close at 64.14 points and it accounted for 2.8% of the PSE’s total trading value. Both figures represent a solid departure from normality. The sector and the market were led by Vegetable Oil Industries Co. (VOIC), which gained 11.11% to close at JD2.50. VOIC has recently decided to reduce its authorized capital from JD10 million to JD4 million and raise its paid-in capital from JD3 million to JD4 million through a public offering of 1 million shares at a price of JD2.50/share.
Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), continued to rise in Palestine. The CPI rose 1.24% in March compared to February and reached 170.26 points. The food group rose 2.35% and the miscellaneous goods and services group rose 1.47%. The price of the textiles, clothing and footwear group declined 3.11%. Inflation was highest in Gaza where it increased 3.60% and lowest in the West Bank where it rose 0.14%.
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