(MENAFN - Jordan Times) AMMAN — Driven by higher prices of leading stocks in the services and banking sectors, the Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) index rose slightly by 0.37 per cent and ended last week's trading session at 5,825.18 points. Market capitalisation grew steadily to reach JD22.6 billion, up by 0.34 per cent for the week.
The indices of the services and banking sectors were the only ones to record gains increasing by 2.46 per cent and 0.87 per cent respectively. The real estate sector was the biggest loser as the sector index dropped by 0.74 per cent by the end of the week.
As for trading activity, 129.5 million shares exchanged hands while average daily trading value dropped by 11.7 per cent to JD50.61 million. Overall, advancers outnumbered decliners as 98 companies out of 178 advanced, while 64 declined.
In terms of value traded by sector, the services sector came in first place accounting for 26.8 per cent of the total value traded followed by the real estate sector at 25.7 per cent and then the banking sector which accounted for 15.7 per cent of the value traded.
The most actively traded shares last week were Ittihad Schools, International Arabian Development and Investment, and First Finance, with a combined value traded of JD50.38 million, accounting for 19.9 per cent of the week's total value traded.
Additionally, several block deals were executed; the most significant were deals on shares of the Bank of Jordan, Real Estate and Investment Portfolio Co. and Arab German Insurance with transaction values of JD2.83 million, JD1.21 million and JD0.695 million respectively.
According to the preliminary statistics published by the Department of Statistics, the gross domestic product measured at constant prices increased by 5.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2007 compared to the same period of 2006 while the inflation rate, as measured by the price consumer index, reached 8.2 per cent up from 4.4 per cent during the first quarter of last year.
Additionally, the unemployment rate rose from 13.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2006 to 14.3 per cent in the same period this year. The trade deficit dropped by 8.4 per cent to 43.2 per cent of the gross domestic product down from 53.3 per cent in quarter one of 2006.
The Central Bank of Jordan revealed that the Kingdom's foreign reserves amounted to 6.29 billion at the end of May compared to 6.31 billion at the end of April this year.
The ASE management decided to suspend the trading of Real Estate Development Company's shares as of June 17, 2007 following the Jordan Securities Commission's approval to register the 39 million additional shares in the company's capital through the subscription of 37 million shares by the Arab East Investment Company, and two million shares by Global Jordan Fund at a price of JD2.35 per share.
Euromoney magazine named the Housing Bank for Trade and Finance as the "Best Bank in Jordan". This award was a part of the annual "Euromoney Awards for Excellence", which are regarded as the benchmark for high-quality products and services across all areas of commercial and investment banking worldwide. The bank's share price increased by 2.31% per cent to end last week's trading session at JD6.2.
According to preliminary statistics published by the Insurance Commission, gross insurance premiums reached JD96.9 million at the end of April this year compared to JD84.8 million during the same period of 2006, an increase of 14 per cent.
The ASE approved the listing of additional shares in the paid-up capitals of Cairo Amman Bank, Union Bank for Saving and Investment, Jordan Electric Power, and Arab East Investment Company which amounted to JD7.5 million, JD11 million, JD6 million, and JD11.9 million respectively.
The ASE's decision came after the above motioned companies finalised all requirements for listing new shares.