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Africa investor Weekly Commentary – 15-04-2013

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There was some good news for the Ai40 Index: it finally ended its losing streak and closed Friday at a value of 114.00, up 1.62% from last week’s close of 112.18.

It was also good news for US markets this week as all three closed up, despite weak US retail sales data. The coming week will see a number of firms release their results, while the New York Fed will release its monthly manufacturing survey on Monday.

A round-up of the markets for the week saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average close at 14,865.06, up 299.8 points, or 2.1%. The broad-based S&P 500 gained 35.57 points, or 2.3%, to reach 1,588.85, while the NASDAQ Composite Index finished up at 3,294.95, an increase of 91.09 points, or 2.8%. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 are treading water just below record highs.

Gainers

North Africa’s construction and banking sectors had a good week, perhaps finally signalling a turnaround. TMG Holdings, an Egyptian real estate firm, and Moroccan real estate company CGI, both recorded sizable gains for the week. TMG Holdings, with a jump of 8.8%, was this week’s winner, while CGI was the fourth biggest gainer, increasing 5.9% to trade at US $5.67. Investment firm Emaar Misr has announced that it will be increasing its investments in the Egyptian real estate market, which they expect “to recover very soon in the middle to long term.”

North Africa’s banks also performed well. Egypt’s Commercial International Bank and Morocco’s Attijariwafa Bank saw gains of 5.9% and 8.5% respectively. Rounding off this week’s winners, South African telecommunication giant MTN jumped a healthy 6.1% to land at $18.14.

Losers

It was most definitely not a good week for Nigeria’s banks. Four out of the top five losers this week hailed from that region’s banking sector. Stanbic IBTC Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank and First Bank Nigeria all dropped; Stanbic lost 2.2%; Guaranty Trust Bank lost 6.1%, and First Bank was this week’s biggest loser, dropping a rather large 11.2%. According to traders, the index of Nigeria’s top ten banks ended down almost 3% last week in volatile trade, on profit-taking after some lenders declared good dividends at the start of the earnings season.

Beverage firm Guinness Nigeria also saw a drop, losing 2.0%. Rounding off the week’s losers, Morocco’s Lafarge was not able to emulate the performances of its counterparts TMG Holdings and CGI, and lost 4.8% to reach a price of $131.03.

For more on the Ai40 Index, please visit the Africa investor website at www.africainvestor.com.