The BLOM Stock Index (BSI) headed into a downward dive this week plunging to 476.06,well below the 500 mark (half its base level of 1,000 set in January 1996) and losing 19.68 percent since the beginning of this year.
Behind the Beirut bourse’s retreat was mainly Solidere in its both classes, 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 still await further changes.
Nevertheless, the Hariri’s government is opting to achieve economic and administrative reforms, especially after Prime Minister’s visit to the US to garner direct support for his plans. On the international front, investors appear to be taking more measured approach, as most Lebanese GDRs were subject to mixed deviations.
Trading in banking stocks was almost non-existent on the Beirut Stock Exchange this week with only Byblos “C” recording a single trade session, edging up 4.58 percent to close at $1.438 on volume of 5,000 shares. On the other hand, BEMO, which has been absent since last January, posted a 5.5 percent drop in its first-quarter profits to $819,000.
Internationally, Audi’s GDR gained 1.38 percent to end at $11.05, while BLC’s rose 0.5 percent to $5.05.BLOM’s GDR remained unchanged after the bank announced a net income of $20.5 million for the first three months of 2001 compared to $20.4 million for the same period in 2000.
Solidere shares fell back in almost complete withdrawal, abandoning their positions as both classes tumbled to all-time lows, reflecting investors’ concerns about the regional situation. Accounting for almost 90 percent of total bourse volume, Solidere prices were knocked-back as Class “A” closed at $5, down 4.76 percent from last week’s close, while Class “B” shed 10.42 percent to reach $5.375 by Friday. The company’s GDR witnessed a gradual decrease to end down one percent at $4.95. — ( Banque du Liban et d'Outre-Mer Sal )
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)