The BLOM Stock Index dropped to a new all-time low this week, hitting 564.32 on Wednesday, compared to a previous nadir of 574.51 reached on 5th November, 1999. Solidere was the chief culprit this time as it previously was, however, the company’s shares avoided touching their record lows.
Although Solidere has by far the largest market capitalization of any listed stock, most other listed shares are trading lower now than during November 1999, including the next two largest market constituents, Byblos Bank and Ciments Libanais.
The approach of the year-end and the festive holiday season is a traditional prompt for a degree of stock liquidations by investors. At the same time, events in the Palestinian territories and a banking crisis in Turkey are acting as something of a deterrent to foreign investors when viewing regional markets. That much was borne out by a fall in the prices of Lebanese GDRs, with the exception of Audi.
Banking stocks were less active than of late, with only two being traded on the bourse this week. Naturally, Bank of Beirut was one of those, registering volume 10,861 at an unchanged price of $7.563.
The other performer was Byblos “C”, redeeming itself from the ignominy of a blank sheet at the last moment, when 1,060 shares were traded on Friday in a price boost of 7.7 percent to $1.75. On the GDR front, Audi distinguished itself by merely holding its ground at $16.15, as BLOM and BLC fell 3.2 percent and 2.2 percent to $20.7 and $6.625 respectively.
Both Solidere share classes ended down on the week, “A” by 3.7 percent to $6.5 and “B” by 5.1 percent to $7. Solidere shares are probably the most widely held of any Lebanese stock, and also have the largest foreign investor exposure. Given the time of year and regional events, the stock will unsurprisingly be affected to a greater extent than other Lebanese equities despite what are generally perceived as positive macro-economic moves by the government.
The company’s GDRs would not, in the circumstances, escape unscathed either, and indeed they did not, falling back 1.9 percent to $6.45. ¯ ( Banque du Liban et d'Outre-Mer Sal )
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)