In its first full week of trading following Al-Adha holiday, the Beirut bourse recorded a volume a little short of 60,000, with recently announced measures of public sector reform probably not alleviating its activity.
Prices were generally unmoved with only Solidere witnessing a mixed scheme, reflected in the BLOM Stock Index (BSI) losing just a tiny 0.6 percent over the week after stabilizing for the last three days. As has often been the case, the prime mover behind the BSI’s fluctuations was Solidere, itself currently a prisoner of investor perception of the government’s latest string of suggested administrative and economic reforms aimed at reducing excess spending in state-run enterprises.
However, these long-waited concrete efforts along with the surge towards privatization are being offset by ongoing fiscal concerns and regional stability. Any signs of real progress, of course, would give both locally and internationally listed Lebanese equities a good degree of support, though further setbacks also cannot be ruled out.
Banks listed on the local bourse displayed little sign of life, as only Bank of Beirut “C” and Audi “C” were traded at unchanged prices. However, on the GDR front, Lebanese banks were beating something of a retreat as the Nasdaq and other international markets gave new meaning to the term “roller coaster ride” and in the process inflicted collateral damage on a number of emerging market equities, whether old or new economy.
The largest faller among the banks was Audi, as its GDR dropped 11.9 percent to $11.1, while BLC’s GDR fell-back 0.98 percent to $5.05. Nevertheless, BLOM managed to appreciate 3.17 percent to $21.15 after the bank announced its plan to increase 2000 dividends by 15.2 percent. — ( Banque du Liban et d'Outre-Mer Sal )
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)