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MENAFN - Jordan Times - 10/06/2007

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(MENAFN - Jordan Times) AMMAN — The index of the Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) declined by 0.87 per cent last week driven by lower prices of leading stocks in the banking and real estate sectors. The index ended the week's trading session at 5780.5 points taking down the market capitalisation to JD22.4 billion, down by 0.82 per cent for the week.

The indices of the insurance, service and industrial sectors were the only indices to record gains increasing by 1.73 per cent, 1.07 per cent, and 0.7 per cent respectively. The diversified financial services sector was the biggest loser as the sector's index recorded a loss of 1.67 per cent by the end of the week.

As for trading activity, 85.75 million shares exchanged hands, while the average daily trading value rose by 13.7 per cent to JD40.14 million. Overall, decliners outnumbered advancers as 89 companies out of 177 declined, while 73 advanced.

In terms of value traded by sector, the industrial sector came in first place, accounting for 27.1 per cent of the total value traded followed by the real estate sector with 26.8 per cent and the services sector which accounted for only 18.1 per cent of the value traded.

The most actively traded shares during last week were Middle East Complex, Union Land Development, and Contempro for Housing Projects with a combined value traded of JD43.8 million accounting for 21.8 per cent of the week's total value traded.

Several block deals were executed; the most significant were deals on shares of Middle East Complex and Jordan Commercial Bank with transaction values of JD4.66 million and JD2.53 million respectively.

According to the Global Development Finance 2007 report issued by the World Bank, the economic growth in the Kingdom is projected at 5 per cent in 2007 and 2008 increasing slightly to 5.5 per cent by the end of 2009. The report also projected a fall in the current account deficit to 22.2 per cent of gross domestic product in 2007, followed by further drops to 17.3 per cent and 9.8 per cent in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

In it's monthly bulletin, the Central Bank of Jordan revealed that the country's foreign reserves reached JD4.53 billion at the end of last March compared to JD3.49 billion at the end of the same month last year.

The latest figures released by the Ministry of Finance indicated that cumulative revenues from the country's privatisation programme reached JD610.8 million at the end of the first quarter of this year compared to JD611.8 million during the same period of last year.

Trading volume in the real estate market during the first five months of 2007 reached JD2.4 billion compared to JD1.8 billion during the same period last year, an increase of 26 per cent.

Jordan Phosphate Mines reported net profit of JD4.74 million for the first quarter of 2007 compared to only JD559,000 in the same period of last year. The company's share price increased by 6.21 per cent to close the week at JD4.62, while it trades at a forward P/E ratio of 18.5x.

The Arab Bank has mandated CALYON Credit Agricole CIB, HSBC Bank Middle East Limited and JP Morgan to arrange a 500 million five-year term loan at a rate of 25 basis points above LIBOR. Arab Bank's share price closed the weekly session at JD22.08, down by 1.78 per cent, while it trades at a forward P/E ratio of 14.82x.

Muhanna Group, the first and largest actuarial consulting firm in the region, has raised the credit rating of five Jordanian insurance companies. The credit rating of Jordan International Insurance Company was raised from A to A, Al Nisr Al Arabi Insurance Co. from BBB to A, The Islamic Insurance Company from BBB to BBB, Arab Assurers from BB to BBB and finally Arab Orient Insurance's rating was raised from BBB- to BBB. The insurance sector index closed the week at 3689.18 points, increasing by 1.73 per cent.

The Jordan Securities Commission agreed to register the additional shares in the capitals of both the Union Bank for Saving and Investment and the Cairo Amman Bank, amounting to 11 million and 7.5 million shares respectively, through the capitalisation of JD1 of retained earnings per every additional share. This will raise the paid-up capital of Union to JD66 million while the capital of Cairo Amman will reach JD75 million.


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