Accra, April 7, GNA - Industry analysts have described the performance of the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) in the first quarter of this year as most impressive with some saying, "the 2003 run is bound to be sustained." The GSE All-Share Index, the market benchmark recorded a respectable gain of 59.42 per cent by the close of the last week in March compared to the 6.49 per cent posted over the same period last year.
Market activity in the period was rather bullish with stock recording significant upswing in recorded transactions.
According to Gold Coast Securities, a leading investment banking firm in Ghana, the trend is even more remarkable in terms of the Market Capitalization, which stood at 17,950.45 billion cedis compared to 4,004.90 billion cedis recorded during the same period last year. This represents a whopping increase of 340.15 plus percent.
"It is expected that the market would perform better due to the Government's announcement of sweeping reforms in the 2004 Budget statement aimed at boosting private sector business in the country," Gold Coast Securities said.
In the broader market operations, Mechanical Lloyd Company improved on last year's figures gaining a 99.8 per cent to end the first quarter at 1,600 cedis per share.
Mobil Oil Ghana Limited, the only listed oil marketing company on the GSE, managed 4.23 per cent gain going up to 37,500 cedis per share from 35,0001 per share at the beginning of January 2004.
Produce Buying Company, one of two cocoa companies after stalling in trade last year registered an impressive performance to fix at 3,920 cedis per share.
Sam Wood Limited saw one of the lowest price appreciations inching up from 288 cedis per share to close trading at the end of the first quarter at 290 cedis per share.
From the food and beverages sector, the story was that of mixed earnings. Almost all the stocks in the sector made significant appreciations with Guinness Ghana Limited (GGL) sustaining its run after its merger offer to Ghana Breweries Limited (GBL).
GGL, a gainer, made a huge gain of 65.7 per cent price appreciation closing at 9,360 cedis at the end of proceedings in March. The merger, however, has been stalled following the decision by Mr Daniel Ofori, third largest majority shareholder, to contest the mode of sharing GBL shares for GGL shares in the event of the merger.
GBL recorded 16.4 per cent gain to fix at 1,700 cedis per share while Accra Breweries Limited made 9.6 per cent to finish at 605 cedis per share. Ice cream monopoly Fan Milk Limited gained 38.6 per cent to close the first quarter at 5,400 cedis per share.
Cigarette producer British American Tobacco topped the manufacturing sector performance with 28.4 per cent, posting 6,900 cedis over the three-month period.
Manufacturing giant Unilever Ghana Limited continued to surge ending with 29.8 per cent gain to close trading at 19,000 cedis per share while paper producer Camelot Ghana Limited recorded a remarkable 20.9 per cent gain to close the period's trading at 665 cedis per share.
Metalloplastica Ghana Limited continued to stall at 275 cedis per share at the close of the period. MGL had maintained this price for most part of 2003.
The same could be said for Pioneer Aluminium Factory and Supper Paper Products Company, which failed to register any price changes or trading in their shares over the period thus maintaining share prices at 740 cedis and 390 cedis per share, respectively.
Patterson Zachonis Cussons also made a handsome 12.3 per cent gain to end the period at year's high of 3,101 cedis per share.
Newly born SG-SSB Bank made a turnaround after initially nose-diving. It registered a handsome price of 26,001 cedis per share.
Standard Chartered Bank Limited also appreciated by 14.75 per cent to close the period trading at 70,001 cedis per share while The Trust Bank of The Gambia made a remarkable gain of 64.1 per cent to close at 16,000 cedis. Mortgage giant, Home Finance Company Limited sustained its star performance in the financial sector registering 122.2 per cent gain to close at 9,100 cedis.
Ghana Commercial Bank was the other strong performer posting an impressive 85.5 per cent gain to end March trading at 15,300 cedis per share.
Enterprise Insurance Company, the only insurance stock on the GSE, appreciated by 54.3 per cent to close first quarter trading at 16,200 cedis per share.