High dividends boosting interest in Lebanese banks’ shares

The offices of the Beirut stock exchange, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: The high dividends paid by Lebanese banks are among the reasons for the rising demand for stocks of local lenders, brokers said Tuesday.

“Apart from the high profitability of these banks, the good dividends distributed by these lenders to the shareholders could explain why there was occasional block trading in recent weeks,” Jean Michel, one of the floor traders at the Arab Finance Corporation told The Daily Star.

According to the daily bulletin of Beirut Stock Exchange, over $7 million worth of shares were traded Tuesday, although the BLOM Stock Index fell by 0.30 percent.

The figures showed that 679,716 of Audi’s GDRs changed hands at a value of $4,434,916. The price of the share rose slightly by 0.15 percent.

Byblos Bank also saw 1,293,355 shares valued at $2,108,169 change hands. But the price of this share still fell by 2.39 percent.

But brokers said political and security issues were still the main factors influencing the movement of shares on the Beirut bourse.

“It’s true banks are making handsome profits. But the investors still monitor the political developments to decide whether to buy or sell. If the ministers agreed on the final draft of the ministerial statement, then this would reflect positively on the bourse even if it was for a brief time,” another broker said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 05, 2014, on page 5.




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