The BLOM Stock Index (BSI) headed into a downward dive this week plunging to 496.48,slightly below the 500 mark (half its base level of 1,000 set in January 1996) and losing 16.23 percent since the beginning of this year. Behind the Beirut bourse’s retreat was mainly Solidere, which itself visited previously unfamiliar lows. It has been signaled lately that moderate bourse’s volume is an indication that economic fundamentals and investment climate await further changes. However, the Hariri’s government is opting to achieve frequently voiced economic and administrative reforms. Among these is an initiation of a privatization process resulting in the listing of newly privatized enterprises that would act as a spur to local equity market activity, with the telecommunications sector seen as being the first candidate. International investors, however, appear to be taking a more cautious approach, as most Lebanese GDRs were subject to further drops.
Banking sector stocks had a relatively uneventful week as only two banks were traded on the Beirut Stock Exchange. Byblos “C” distinguished itself by being the only stock displaying any notable activity, dropping 14.81 percent to a low of $1.438 on volume of 16,000.In comparison, the other traded bank stock, Bank of Beirut “C”, was very restrained with recorded volume of only 1,250 shares at an unchanged price of $7.563. On the international front, BLOM’s GDR lost its last week’s position by falling 2.72 percent to $20.575, while Audi’s GDR slipped back 1.35 to $10.95 with BLC closing unmoved at $5.05. — ( Banque du Liban et d'Outre-Mer Sal )
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )