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MENAFN - Jordan Times - 12/04/2009

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(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Share prices jumped by 2.4 per cent on the first day of last week driven by strong performance in most regional markets, but the momentum faded later as a result of profit-taking activities on shares of most strategic companies which recorded substantial gains in previous weeks.

The general index of Amman Stock Exchange (ASE) closed last week at 2,722.54 points, down by 0.7 per cent compared to the previous week.

We expect the market to fluctuate within a narrow price range this week as investors await general assembly decisions from a number of strategic companies.

All sector indices regressed last week except for the diversified financial services and banking which rose by 1.8 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively. The services sector posted the largest loss as its index declined by 1.2 per cent.

As for the trading activity, 160.9 million shares exchanged hands leaving gains at 76 companies and losses at 99 firms out of 199 traded corporations.

In terms of value traded by sector, real estate came in first place accounting for 33 per cent of the total followed by the services sector with 25.8 per cent and then the diversified financial services which accounted for 22.3 per cent of the value traded last week.

The most actively traded shares were those of South Electronics Company, Ad Dulayl Industrial Park and Taameer Jordan Holdings with a combined value of JD41.5 million accounting for 15.5 per cent of total value traded.

Three block deals were executed on shares of Jordan Phosphate Mines, Specialised Investments Compounds and Socit Generale Bank with transaction values of JD5.5 million, JD1.8 million and JD2.5 million.

Jordan Petroleum Refinery signed a preliminary memorandum of understanding with a consortium of 12 Swiss banks for a 1.5 billion strategic stake, or 51 per cent.

The general assembly of United Group Holdings approved a recommendation to increase the company's paid-up capital from 50 million shares to 140.9 million shares, through allocating 90.9 million shares to the Kuwaiti Agility Company as a strategic partner.

The general assembly of Islamic Insurance Company approved the distribution of cash dividends to shareholders at a rate of 15 per cent and an increase in the firm's paid-up capital from JD10 million to JD12 million through the distribution of a 20 per cent stock dividend.

The general assembly of Middle East Diversified Investment approved distributing cash dividends to shareholders at a rate of 12.5 per cent.

Shareholders of United Financial Investments approved the distribution of JD1 million in cash dividends at a rate of 20 per cent.

According to data issued by the Department of Lands and Survey, real estate trading in Jordan dropped by 32 per cent to JD940 million by the end of March 2009 compared to JD1,389 million during the same period last year.

The Central Bank of Jordan revealed that the number of bounced cheques rose by 15.7 per cent to 76,493 by the end of March 2009 compared to 66,084 cheques during the same period last year.

The Insurance Commission announced that total insurance premium increased by 17 per cent to JD65.3 million by the end of February 2009 compared to JD55.6 million in the same period of 2008.


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