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Amman Bourse in Brisk Post-Holiday Trade
Reuters
AMMAN — Jordanian shares rose on Saturday in brisk post-holiday business apparently unmoved by a wait-and-see mood gripping the nation as it awaits a new successor to the Hashmite ruling family, dealers said.

The official Amman Financial Markets (AFM) 60-share index rose 0.93 percent to 177.66 points in turnover of 1.46 million dinars ($2 million) in the first trading session since last Saturday.

Dealers said the bourse saw active trade at the end of a week long holiday to mark the Moslem Eid al-Fitr feast which included an extra one day to celebrate King Hussein's return last Tuesday after a six-month absence abroad.

The market brushed aside the state of anticipation which is keeping many Jordanians in suspense as they await imminent news of the replacement of Jordan's Cown Prince Hassan as heir designate.

The 63-year-old monarch, who was discharged last month from the U.S. Mayo Clinic after successful treatment of cancer, is expected to soon announce one of his five sons as a successor.

Some brokers cited healthy foreign buying on traditional blue-chip industrials which led the broad market advances, helping to attract local interest from a mix of institutional buyers and floor trade speculators.

"The market was unaffected by the political changes that could happen," said Amer al-Muasher, head of foreign investments at National Securities.

Among the busiest transactions of the day were the two mining blue-chips, Arab Potash (APOT.AM) and Jordan Phosphate Mines (JOPH.AM), rising sharply by 0.18 dinars to 3.75 dinars and 0.09 dinars to 1.97 dinars respectively.

The potash firm's turnover of 738,604 dinars accounted for nearly half the day's volume, mainly a bloc deal said to be a GDR cancellation, brokers said.

But blue chip drug firm, Arab Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (APHA.AM), shed 0.04 dinars to 2.91 dinars after shares worth 52,566 dinars changed hands in locally driven trade.

Jordan Electric Power (JOEP.AM), a recent favorite among local speculators, was unchanged at 1.73 dinars after shares worth 116,278 dinars changed hands in one of the busiest transactions of the day.

Jordan Cement Factories (JOCM.AM), rose 0.12 dinars to close 3.57 dinars in 63,502 dinars worth of trade, mostly local speculators after foreign fund buying petered out.

The cement stock's foreign ownership reached close to its permissible 50 percent ceiling after weeks of mainly global fund buying triggered by a landmark government sale of a major stake last November to a French cement producer.

In contrast to busy trade in industrials, the banking sector was quieter with market heavy weight Arab Bank (ARBK.AM) rising a modest 0.25 dinars to close 217.25 dinars after 300 shares changed hands. Housing Bank (THBK.AM) rose a slight 0.05 dinars to 2.80 dinars in deals worth a total of 55,583 dinars.

Gaining shares outnumbered losers by 16 to 8 and 12 stock were unchanged.

The independent Pearl Index of 45 best-performing shares rose 0.42 percent to 82.67 points, 1.30 percent higher from the end of last year.

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