[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 August 2006, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
Beirut stock market reopens trade
Workers in the Beirut stock exchange
Lebanon's stock exchange took steps to prevent panic selling
Lebanon's stock exchange restarted trading on Tuesday amid intensifying efforts to halt the hostilities between Israeli troops and Hezbollah fighters.

One of Beirut's main indexes, the BLOM, closed 4.1% lower at 1,230.22.

Trading hours were shortened and the exchange put a 5% limit on the amount a share could rise or fall, in an effort to control volatility.

Many shares fell the maximum 5%, including property developer Solidere and Lebanon's largest bank Blom.

"Volumes are low," said one trader in Beirut.

"There are many offers in the market but no bids. It looks like we will see more downward pressure this week."

'Monitoring developments'

A total of 60,270 shares traded on Tuesday, worth about $952,529 (510,00).

For the time being we are open
Beirut Stock Exchange chairman Fadi Khalaf

Observers said that despite the concerns about the ongoing conflict, investors would probably be lured back into the market if share prices fell far enough.

It is the first time the stock market has opened since trading ended on 14 July, and it is uncertain how long it can keep operating.

Israeli forces have pushed deeper into southern Lebanon, widening their ground offensive against Hezbollah. At the same time, Israeli jets hit targets across the country.

Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer has told Army Radio that Israel's offensive will be completed within a fortnight.

Beirut Stock Exchange chairman Fadi Khalaf said: "For the time being, we are open.

"We will be in constant contact with the Finance Ministry, monitoring developments in the market and will modify the restrictions accordingly."


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific