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MENAFN - Jordan Times - 26/11/2006

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AMMAN — The index of the Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) fell to its lowest level since the beginning of the year closing last week at 5631.3 points, down 2.73 per cent from the previous week. The drop, due to diminishing investor confidence, was in line with other contractions in Arab bourses. The market capitalisation stood at JD21.5 billion.

According to the World Investment Report for 2006 issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Jordan ranked 19th in an index of 141 countries showing performance in terms of direct investment flow in 2005. Jordan obtained 1.53 billion last year, and was listed among the countries that have favourable facilities and abilities to attract these investments.

In other news, the chairman of the Aqaba Development Corporation said ADC will be licensing offshore banking units in Aqaba after an anti-money laundering law is passed by parliament, and negotiations in this regard are finalised with the Central Bank of Jordan.

On the trading floor, the average daily trading volume was down by 24.86 per cent to JD31.08 million. Overall, decliners outnumbered advancers as 123 companies out of 172 declined, while 39 companies advanced.

The index of the banking sector dropped to 10,956 points at the end of last week, down by 3.3 per cent from the previous week.

Arab Bank's share price fell 2.89 per cent finishing the week at JD22.20. The bank's shares are trading at a forward P/E multiple of 17x.

Under an agreement signed with the Housing and Urban Development Corporation, Jordan Ahli Bank will provide credits to those seeking the corporation's services and facilities. The bank's share price, trading at a forward P/E of 11.4x, closed at JD2.65 down by 4.33 per cent.

According to president of the Jordan Insurance Federation, there is more than one new Islamic insurance company that is going to start operating in the country. He saw no threat or burden from these firms on existing commercial insurance companies or the market due to the unique client base that their operations will target.

Trading-wise, several block deals worth JD2.28 million were executed on around 1.8 million shares of Arab American Takaful Insurance whose share price closed at JD1.80, up by 3.45 per cent.

In the services sector, the government is expected to resell another one per cent of its stake in Jordan Telecom to the Joint Investment Telecommunication Company, a fully-owned subsidiary of France Telecom. The share price of Jordan Telecom closed at JD4.15, slightly down by 0.72 per cent.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission decided to grant a fifth general telecommunication licence in a step to further liberalise the fixed line industry.

The Jordan Securities Commission authorised the listing of three million shares of Arab Investors Union for Real Estate Developing in the second market as of November 23, 2006. The share price opened at JD1.80, and finished the week at JD1.71 down by 5 per cent.

The Gulf General Investments, an Emirati company, had recently expressed interest in raising its equity in Arab Real Estate Development (ARED) by five million new shares, a move that will increase ARED's paid up capital to JD25 million. ARED will propose these intentions to its general assembly. The company's share closed at JD2.19, down by 9.5 per cent.

In the industrial sector, the share price of Middle East Complex for Engineering (MECE) closed at JD1.93, down by 2.12 per cent amid active trading that captured 27.13 per cent of the sector's total trading volume.


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