BEIRUT, (Reuters) - The Beirut Stock Exchange ended higher on Monday, May 28, after market mainstay Solidere A and B shares gained ground in thin trade. Solidere A added 7.14 percent to $5.625 and B shares added 4.55 percent to $5.75.
The real estate firm dominated trade volume, accounting for all but 500 of the shares that changed hands. The benchmark BLOM index added 4.02 percent to 507.36 points. Volume dropped sharply to 31,614 shares worth $177,619 compared to 761,813 shares for $3,944,711 on Thursday. The market was closed on Friday to mark the first anniversary of the end of Israel's 22-year occupation of south Lebanon.
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, but that the share is cheap enough to spark a rally.
Hariri founded Solidere in 1994 and it acquired a monopoly over most of the property in Beirut's city centre.
In London, the global depositary receipts of BLOM bank, Lebanon's largest, fell $0.02 to $19.3 by the afternoon. Solidere's GDR gained $0.07 to $5.475.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)