Although volume on the Beirut bourse more than doubled, activity was concentrated in two stocks Solidere “A”and BEMO, which together accounted for 87.5 percent of total turnover. Perhaps the former could be perceived as a bet on the outcome of the elections while the latter on the opening up of the Syrian banking sector in the not too distant future. A distinctive feature of the elections is an almost total absence of serious discussion of the issues.
The issue concerning the market above all others is the reversal of the economic slump, and more particularly correcting the fiscal imbalance. Until this issue is tackled with not only seriousness but also integrity and determination, then the make-up of the new government may add-up to nothing more than mere cosmetics.
BEMO was the main player among listed banks as its price gained 8.3 percent to $3.25 on relatively large volume of 57,490.Demand and supply for the stock were in equilibrium for most of the week. This sudden activity in BEMO over the past two weeks could be closely related to its obtaining of a license to operate in Syria’s Free Zone.
Bank of Beirut was its usual active self as it witnessed trade of 11,750 shares on an unchanged price of $7.563.Some demand appeared for Audi “C” on Monday, resulting in a trade of 400 shares at a price of $20.75. BLOM’s GDR was up 0.76 percent over the week, closing at $23.075 while Audi’s GDR lost 0.52 percent to close at $19.15. BLOM is generally considered to be the bank that would benefit most from the opening-up of the Syrian banking sector.
Solidere had a glimpse this week at its glorious past when 53,071 “A” shares were traded during one single day, thus raising the stock’s total weekly turnover to 84,787.Supply on the “A” share was generous, as usual, with whatever demand materializing being executed. However, a surge in demand on Friday to 72,870 shares caused trading to increase to 40,071.The fate of the “B” share differed as no demand was registered to match the ever-existing supply, except for 17 shares demanded and traded on Monday at $6.875.
The company’s future is very much seen by market players as being bound to the outcome of the elections and the appointment of a new prime minister and formation of a cabinet. The company’s GDR continued its ascent this week, reaching $6.775 on Monday before losing some ground and closing 4.8 percent up at $6.55.
Ciments Libanais fell 7.31 percent to $0.406 on Friday when 5,200 shares changed hands. Ciments Blancs “B” was traded this week at a steady price of $1.844,on volume of 3,000 shares. – (Banque du Liban et d’Outre-Mer )