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MENAFN - Jordan Times - 19/11/2006

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AMMAN — The Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) was closed on Sunday in memory of the late King Hussein's birthday. Starting Monday, the index continued its downward trend for the third week in a row, closing at 5789.4 points, down by 2.18 per cent for the week. Market capitalisation stood at JD22.1 billion.

Foreign grants received by Jordan during the first eight months of the year reached JD141.6 million, dropping 65.1 per cent from the JD405 million in grants received during the same period last year.

According to the Department of Statistics, the wholesale trade price index increased by 6.6 per cent during the first three quarters of 2006 compared to the same period in 2005, with the prices of motor vehicles and parts witnessing the greatest increase reaching 9.5 per cent.

On the trading floor, the average daily trading volume dropped by 13.1 per cent during the week to JD41.4 million. Overall, decliners outnumbered advancers as 30 companies out of 172 advanced, while 136 companies declined.

In the banking sector, the Abu Dhabi Securities and Commodities Commission approved the listing of Arab Bank shares on the Abu Dhabi Securities Market (ADSM) in response to the approvals of local stock market institutions.

Listing the shares on the ADSM falls in line with the bank's plans to expand regionally and internationally. Arab Bank Chairman Abdul Hameed Shoman attended Oman Arab Bank's board of directors meeting where the bank's future plans and projects were discussed, with aims to provide superior services to its customers and become an active participant in the Sultanate's various sectors. Arab Bank owns a 49 per cent stake in Oman Arab Bank's paid up capital.

Arab Bank's share price finished the week at JD22.86, down by 1.21 per cent, to trade at a forward P/E multiple of 17.5x according to Capitalinvestments' 2006 earnings estimates.

The Housing Bank for Trade and Finance's general assembly approved the allocation of two million shares to the Jordan Armed Forces at a price to be determined by the bank's board of directors. The bank's share price dropped by 7.38 per cent to finish the week at JD7.40.

The Jordan Securities Commission approved Jordan Islamic Bank's 15 million-share increase in capital, to be offered to existing shareholders at a price of JD2 per share. The bank's share price closed at JD3.98, down by 1.49 per cent.

The insurance sector index ended the week at 4700.6 points, down by 3.73 per cent. Arab American Takaful Insurance was the sector's top gainer, increasing by 4.82 per cent to close at JD1.74.

In the services sector, Arab Real Estate Development is moving forward in its agreement with Al Mal Securities to establish the largest brokerage firm in the region, to be completed by the end of the year. Arab Real Estate Development (ARED) also announced that it finalised ownership procedures of Osool Investments and Financial Services' JD10 million paid-up capital. ARED's share price declined by 2.81 per cent to close at JD2.42.

According to Jordan Telecom's records, the number of ADSL subscribers reached 48,700 at the end of September 2006, achieving growth of 68 per cent over the same period last year. Jordan Telecom's share price closed at JD4.18, down by 1.18 per cent, to trade at a forward P/E multiple of 12.3x based on Capitalinvestments' forecasts for year-end earnings.

In the industrial sector, Jordan Cement Factories will begin extending internal gas lines at its Rashadieh plant early next year, noting that the external line extensions are expected to be completed by the end of next month. The share price of Jordan Cement closed at JD13.50, up by 0.75 per cent.


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