Monday, May 2, 2011

Market Brief (25-29 April 2011)

For the week ending April 29, major global stock markets advanced following Bernanke’s speech and higher corporate earnings than expected. The US stock market was firmer with the Dow and S&P reaching 2011 new highs. The Fed confirmed it would complete its USD 600 billion Treasury purchases (QE2 program) as planned. The Dow Jones Industrial index closed the week with a gain of 2.4% while S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite posted gains of 2.0% and 1.9%, respectively. Most European shares also closed the week with gains supported by Bernanke’s speech and strong corporate earnings. Moreover, the Japanese stock market registered 1.7% gain on account of the yen’s easing against major currencies and upbeat corporate earnings reports.

Over the week, the majority of African stock markets incurred gains in line with the global market (Table 1). The stock market in Ghana registered the highest gain. Year-to-date, Ghana’s stock index was up by 10%, which makes it the best-performing African index among the reviewed ones. In contrast, Morocco’s stock index posted the largest weekly loss of 3.4%.

Equity Focus
Ghana’s All Share index climbed 1.7% driven by gains in the financial sector, which includes Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) Ghana Ltd. and UT Bank Ltd (UTB). SCB Ghana Ltd. stock price increased by 15.4% as the bank announced a remarkable operation profit of 101 million cedis (USD 69.5 million) in 2010. The stock price of UTB increased by 7.4% the highest in nearly four weeks as its firstquarter profit soared more than seven times to 1.1 million cedis (USD 730,000).

Morocco: Over the week, the Casa All Share index tumbled by 3.4% following a bomb explosion in Marrakesh which created security concerns and possible implications for the tourism sector.

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