Amman bourse closes lower

Published May 31st, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

AMMAN, (Reuters) - Amman bourse fell on Wednesday, May 30, in mostly selling by small investors and local funds of market mainstay Arab Bank, dealers said. The official 70-share benchmark Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) index fell 0.61 percent, closing at 140.72 points in turnover of 3.2 million dinars ($4.5 million), dominated by business in Arab Bank. 

 

Block deals outside the trading floor were concluded in Jordan Steel. Losers outpaced gainers 23 to 18 with 23 shares unchanged. 

 

Investors have been upbeat about the bank's announcement this week that its charismatic chairman Abdul Majeed Shoman, 84, who has effectively run the bank for the last six decades, would hand over the post of CEO to his younger son, Abdel Hamid, 54. 

 

They said it would ensure a smooth transition in top management of the bank that has been run by the Shoman family, who own over 17 percent of its equity. It's balance sheet stood at $28.5 billion at end of 2000. 

 

Arab Bank's price has risen by around 10 percent over the last two weeks even before the management changes, widely expected even before they were publicly announced this week. 

 

The heavyweight bank, the bulk of whose shares are held by long term insitutional investors has traditionally been a small investors' flight to quality share. 

 

In the busiest trade, Arab Bank shed 0.58 percent to close at 170 dinars in overall trade worth around 1.26 million dinars, alone over of total volume. 

 

The share makes up more than 40 percent of the bourse's total market capitalisation of $5.2 billion and so its price fluctuations heavily influence the overall ASE index. 

 

Arab Bank has led a market rally triggered by local fund purchases of undervalued stock, with good earnings prospects that has helped push the official ASE index higher by at least three percent in the last few weeks. 

 

In the second largest deal, International Tobacco rose 2.52 percent to close at 1.22 dinars after shares worth 105,606 dinars changed hands. 

 

Blue chip Jordan Electric Power was unchanged at 2.00 dinars, after shares worth around 37,000 dinars were traded.  

 

 

© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

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