Within a week of quietness and slow movements that lacked of any distinguished general or individual performance, Al-Quds Index declined under a wave of selling pressures from speculators prior to holding the general assembly meetings of the listed companies- especially the companies with the heavy weighted shares in the index- to benefit from the technical performance wave before and after the dividends entitlement date amid the variation of investors categories. On the other hand and despite of strengthening the fact of investment feasibility in Palestine Stock Exchange- with the expectations of returns with the growing dividends distribution announcements by the companies-, the inactive state in the PEX may be justified with the general incentives receding. During almost two weeks, the listed companies will start to disclose their financial and operational results for Q1 2014, to charge some optimism for that could be appeared as new liquidity activity. But as always, there are purely political reasons governing the exceptional circumstances of the Palestinian economic and investment environment, keeping it with blurry vision, which may be a new incentive for a market revival driven by investments that emerge from fateful developments in the general matter. In this context, there are frequent talks about attracting investment to the potential opportunities in Palestine; the latest was to hold an investment conference in Palestine prior to the end of the current year in order to expand the investment base through inviting investors from all over the world to explore investment opportunities. This in turn comes after a series of economic laws and legislation that is revised and approved the Palestinian Government concerning tax modifications and investment promotion law.
Within the pace of dividends distribution announcements, the strategies of the leading companies with the highest influence in the index and highest circulation in terms of liquidity regarding dividends distribution of 2013 were completed. This was topped when the BOD of Bank of Palestine proposed distributing $22.5 million for the shareholders, divided into $12.5 million cash dividends (8.33%) and $10 million stock dividends (6.67%) leading the capital to reach $160 million. The GA of the bank will discuss this dividends proposal in its meeting on 25/04/2014. Accordingly, cash recommendation records a payout ratio of 30.8% and dividends yield of 2.6% according to the current market price. On the other hand and within the banking sector and capital increase context, the extraordinary GA of Palestine Commercial Bank approved raising the bank’s capital by $10 million to reach $40.03 million through offering convertible bonds on the due date for subscription on the conversion date after 5 years with the bank’s right for early redemption, by giving the right to the shareholders as for 19/03/2014 to purchase these bonds with a minimum subscription amount of 1000 bonds at a bond’s par value of $1 and interest rate of 6.5% that is payable within 6 months. The GA authorized the BOD to act on any additional excess subscription. It is worth mentioning that these bonds are considered the first of their kind in Palestine in terms of convertibility and mechanism of capital rising.
In this week, the daily average trading value significantly declined as no high-volume cross transactions were executed compared to the previous week. In all cases, the daily average trading value recorded lower levels by 67% than the recorded daily average trading value of January and February 2014. This comes as a result of a decline in activity- in the period of holding the GA meetings- on Palestine Telecommunications PALTEL and Palestine Development and Investment PADICO. During the week, the daily average trading value on those shares declined by 64% and 78% respectively compared to the first two months of the year. On the other hand, the decline in the share price of PALTEL was the main reason for closing Al-Quds Index in the red zone this week, as a result of the anticipation of investors for the GA meeting that will be taking a place on 26/03/2014 to approve distributing 50% cash dividends. And for initiating the trading on the share with dividends discount. Moreover, the decrease in the share price of PADICO came with lower pace due to holding the GA meeting on a later date in the second half of May 2014.