AMMAN, (Reuters) - Amman's share index rose on Monday, May 21, helped by some local fund buying in pharmaceuticals and strong investor interest in market mainstay Arab Bank, dealers said. The official 70-share benchmark Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) index rose 0.44 percent to 137.84 points in turnover of around 1.1 million dinars ($1.55 million).
Individual investors bought Arab Bank , up 0.46 percent to close at 162.3 dinars after trade worth around 442,329 dinars.
The share makes up more than 40 percent of the bourse's total capitalization.
Local funds kept up the recent spate of demand on blue-chip Jordan Electric Power , which was unchanged at 1.98 dinars after shares worth 154,523 dinars changed hands.
Dealers said some local funds were building positions in the share after its annual meeting last week approved a recommendation for a bonus share along with a cash dividend.
There was also some institutional buying by local funds of pharmaceuticals, said Assad al-Dissi, head of Amman Securities and Investments.
Blue-chip drug firm Dar al-Dawa was unchanged at 2.25 dinars after shares worth 43,719 dinars changed hands.
Arab Pharmaceutical Manufacturing maintained its recent strong showing, gaining 0.43 percent to close at 2.31 dinars after shares worth 42,000 dinars changed hands.
But Midpharma shed two percent to close at 0.49 dinars in turnover of around 39,000 dinars.
Among industrials, sole cement manufacturer Jordan Cement , rose 2.14 percent to close at 2.87 dinars after shares worth 39,861 dinars changed hand in a block deal.
Steel importer Jordan Steel . shed 0.89 percent to close at 1.11 with shares worth 36,567 dinars changing hands in one of the busiest traded stock.
In recent weeks, absence of strong demand by local institutions has hampered a market rebound leaving trading short of sufficient liquidity.
Many funds have adopted a wait-and-see mood amid the increased violence in the Middle East. ($=0.709 dinars)
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