CASABLANCA, (Reuters) - Moroccan shares ended higher on Friday, May 25, buoyed by demand for stocks that are about to debut on the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) index next month, dealers said.
The all-share index closed at 657.06, up from last week's 649.95 close on volume of 195.4 million dirhams ($16.6 million). The rise ended a five-week fall which has knocked 3.2 percent off the index.
Twelve Moroccan stocks will enter the MSCI on June 1 in a move analysts expect to attract foreign investment and spur volumes in the cash-strapped bourse.
The stocks are: BCM bank, BMCE Bank, Wafabank, ONA Group, SNI, cement firms Cimar and Cior, steel mill Sonasid, mining firms Managem and SMI, oil refinery Samir and brewery Brasseries.
"After a long downtrend marked by thin trade, volumes started picking up gradually recently due to a revival of interest in the market," a senior trader said.
"This could be linked to speculative moves expecting a return of foreign investors with the effective listing of the bourse in the MSCI index," he added.
Brokers said demand stemmed mainly from mutual funds and a handful of institutional investors.
A senior trader said the market was expected to continue rising at least until June 1.
"But things will surely turn sour if foreign investors fail to show up as locals expect, as the whole positive mood we are seeing now is motivated by the MSCI inclusion," a senior fund manager said.
Asked how soon he expected foreign investors to arrive, the fund manager said: "I would give them three days, if they don't show up I will sell".
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