AMMAN, (Reuters) - Amman's bourse index was little changed on Sunday, May 13, with locally-driven speculative trading by small investors focused on market mainstay Arab Bank , dealers said.
The official 70-share benchmark Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) index shed 0.01 percent to 135.03 points in turnover of around 1.16 million dinars ($1.6 million) .
Almost half the day's volume was dominated by trading in two shares, heavyweight Arab Bank and Jordan Steel , mostly block deals. Gainers outpaced losers 25 to 16 and 29 shares were unchanged.
Most of the block deals are transactions related to ownership transfers and debt settlement among brokers as distinct from speculative buying, dealers said.
Arab Bank rose 0.22 percent to close at 158.1 dinars in trade worth around 400,200 dinars.
The share makes up more than 40 percent of the bourse's total capitalization and so its price fluctuations heavily influence the overall ASE index. Block deals accounted for half the trading in blue chip Jordan Steel.
Some large investors kept up the recent pattern of trading on the firm that has witnessed heightened investor demand following healthy 2000 results and favorable forecasts for this year.
The leading steel importer rose 1.94 percent to close at 1.05 dinars after shares worth around 122,661 dinars changed hands in the second busiest traded stock.
The share's price has picked up gradually since it went ex-dividend last week after a 0.12 dinars cash dividend.
Sole cement manufacturer, Jordan Cement Factories , whose exports have been hit by regional troubles, shed 0.71 percent to close at 2.79 dinars after shares worth around 74,463 changed hands.
Dealers say absence of strong demand by local institutions has hampered a market rebound leaving trading short of sufficient liquidity. Many funds are adopting a wait-and-see mood amid heightened violence in the Middle East.
Pharmaceutical Dar-al-Dawa was unchanged at 2.14 dinars after shares worth around 21,00 dinars changed hands. ($=0.709 dinars)
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