BEIRUT, (Reuters) - The Beirut bourse closed without any price movement on Tuesday, May 22, amid poor liquidity and low investor interest. The benchmark BLOM index ended unchanged for the third consecutive trading day at 489.82 points. Volume rose to 93,298 shares for $469,115 compared to 10,726 shares and $56,193 on Monday.
Brokers say lack of new issues and complicated share ownership structures have dragged down the bourse, which peaked in 1997 on optimism of regional peace and economic growth. The Lebanese economy has since fallen into recession and the Lebanese-Israeli front has remained unstable.
As usual, market mainstay Solidere's A shares accounted for the bulk of activity with 92,298 shares trading steady at $5 on Tuesday. Earlier this month Solidere declared 2000 losses of $31.8 million for 2000, its first-ever loss, compared to a profit of $3.8 million the previous year.
Brokers say the company, in which Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri is a major shareholder, has misjudged demand for the high-end property it develops in Beirut's rebuilt central district. Hariri founded Solidere in 1994 and it acquired a monopoly over most of the property in Beirut's city centre. Earlier this year, he appointed a new general director for the company in an effort to reverse its fortunes.
In London, the global depositary receipts of BLOM bank, Lebanon's largest, added $0.42 to $19.22 by the middle of the afternoon. Solidere's GDR gained $0.10 to $5.17.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)