(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Driven by strong performance of a number of strategic stocks, the general index of Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) rose 1.4 per cent, closing last week at 2740.4 points, amid apparent optimism derived from the recent surge in the indices of global and regional markets.
The most prominent stocks were Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company, Jordan Cement Factories Company and Jordan Electricity which increased by 18.1 per cent, 7.4 per cent and 8.8 per cent respectively.
After the release of positive economic news regarding growth in gross domestic product (GDP) and unemployment rates, we expect rising demand this week on shares of strategic companies.
All sector indices advanced last week except banking which declined by 1.3 per cent. The services sector recorded the highest gain as its index increased by 4.4 per cent.
As for trading activity, 171.9 million shares exchanged hands leaving gains at 90 firms and losses at 86 entities out of 197 corporations whose shares were traded.
In terms of value traded by sector, real estate came in first place accounting for 40 per cent of the total followed by services with 26.1 per cent and then the diversified financial services sector which accounted for 15.6 per cent of the total value traded last week.
The most actively traded shares were those of Taameer Jordan Holdings, South Electronics Company, and Ad Dulayl Industrial Park, with a combined value traded of JD55.8 million accounting for 21.31 per cent of the total value traded.
Several block deals were executed last week; most significantly were deals on Arab German Insurance, Specialised Investments Compounds and Middle East Diversified Investment with transaction values of JD1.4 million, JD1.3 million and JD1 million.
Jordan Cement Factories Company's board of directors recommended to the general assembly the distribution of cash dividends to shareholders at rate of 65 per cent.
Jordan Phosphate Mines Company has decided to distribute JD37.5 million in cash dividends to the shareholders at a rate of 50 per cent.
The general assembly of Jordan Ahli Bank approved the distribution of cash dividends at a rate of 10 and stock dividends at a rate of 5 per cent.
The extraordinary general assembly of General Lightweight Concrete Industries decided to increase the company's paid-up capital through a 50 per cent rights issue at the price of JD0.85 per share.
The ASE approved the listing of the 20 million new shares of Al Isra for Investments and Islamic Finance.
According to data issued by the Department of Statistics (DoS), GDP at constant prices grew by 4 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2008 compared to its level in the same quarter of 2007.
The DoS data also showed that unemployment rate during the first quarter of 2009 stood at 12.1 per cent compared to 12 per cent at the end of 2008.
The Securities Depository Centre revealed that non-Jordanian ownership in the ASE dropped by 1.4 per cent during the first quarter of 2009 compared to total investments at year-end 2008.
Investment in companies registered at the Companies Control Department plunged 53.4 per cent to JD68 million during the first quarter of 2009, compared to JD146.0 million during the same period of 2008.
According to the latest government financial bulletin issued by the Ministry of Finance, total revenues and foreign grants amounted to JD879.4 million during the first two months of 2009 compared to JD792.8 million during the same period in 2008, reflecting an increase of JD42.3 million or 5.3 per cent.
According to the same bulletin, the budget deficit reached JD33.1 million during the first two months of 2009, compared to a surplus of JD169.1 million in the same period last year.