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Lebanese Equities & Related News

Date 20/09/2002

Things seem to be getting from bad to worse on the Beirut equity markets, contradicting the pick-up in trading activity expected for the end of the summer. Traded volumes continue to fall on the BSE, with just over 30,000 shares changing hands throughout the past week, with the total Dollar value standing at a megre $38,427. The market remains plague by an overall lack of investor apetite, mainly due to the general unease in the local and regional political situation. In addition, funds remain on the sidelines awaiting the outcomes of the Paris II conference to be held later this month, and which is expected to bring about some financial aid to Lebanon. The BLOM Stock Index dropped almost 2% to 430.74, while the bourse's market cap shrank to $1.246 billion.

Outlining the overall lack of activity on the market, only three issues witnessed some modest trading over the week. Solidere shares accounted for just over 58% of total traded volumes, while shares of HOLCIM accounted for the remaining 42%.

Despite being the mostly traded stock for the week, Solidere "A" shares managed to end the week unchanged at $4.50. The stock seems to be holding onto the gains of August despite the overall lacklustre outlook of the broader market. Solidere "B" shares, on the other hand, slid almost 8% to $4.50 on minimal volumes. Shares of HOLCIM Liban also ended unchanged at $0.594.

On a more global level, Lebanese GDRs seem to be holding steady despite the downside observed on the domestic market. The AFC LITSI Index ended the past week rather unchanged at 48.73 points, buoyed by the Solidere and Audi GDRs. On a more regional level, however, Arab GDRs maintained their positive momentum last week, with the AFC AITSI Index adding more than 5% to 105.98 points, recouping all of the losses accumulated since September 2001.