Economy, Business And Markets

Stocks Bloom in 1st Week of Spring

Stocks Bloom in 1st Week of SpringStocks Bloom in 1st Week of Spring

Stocks in Tehran rose in the first trading week of the new Iranian year (started March 20) on optimism about the Iranian economy and dissipation of worries about falling commodity prices globally.

Tehran Stock Exchange finished the week 1.5% higher, hitting a fresh 26-month high, while the smaller Iran Fara Bourse over-the-counter market ended the week 1% higher.

Falling commodity prices, chief among them crude oil, have been the main drag on corporate earnings in the past year. However, many major banks, including UBS, think oil has already bottomed and are undecided on the level prices will settle in the future. A 65% fall in global crude prices has damaged the Iranian government's fiscal plans and Iranian oil and gas companies' profits.

The greenback's stability due to buying and selling by importers and exporters in Tehran's foreign exchange market upped the allure of stocks, according to Pouya Jabal Ameli, a central bank analyst.

The US dollar remained stable just below 35,000 rials per dollar.

> TSE's Good Start

TSE's benchmark, TEDPIX, closed at 80,219 points on March 17 as Iranians went to celebrate the New Year. It reopened on March 26, with its index jumping 1,000 points off last year's close.

The market remained flat the next day, as traders were undecided on the direction of trade.

TEDPIX dropped in the following two days to just above the year's market open, bottoming at 80,561.3 points on March 29.

Optimism returned in the week's last day of trade before the Sizdah Bedar holiday on April 1, when Iranians celebrate nature, driving TEDPIX up 1.14% to 81,480.4 points–the index's highest since Feb. 2014.

Out of the 37 industries TSE's companies are listed under, only six lost ground during the week, while chemical producers, automakers and oil and gas companies, along with transportation and basic metals industries, led gains.

The lifting of international sanctions in mid-January as part of a deal between Iran and the P5+1—Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China, plus Germany—sparked an unprecedented rally in Iranian equities. The rally lifted TEDPIX 35% off two-year lows. The index finished last year 28.3% higher.

Optimism from the deal and the effects of sanctions relief are likely to drive stocks higher in the coming months.

> IFB Lags Behind

The IFB shadowed TSE's moves with a different order of magnitude. IFB's benchmark, IFX, finished last year 18% higher and closed at 805.61 points on March 17.

Climbing in the first two days of trading in the New Year, it hit the trading week's high of 823.74 points on March 27, but dipped back to where it had started in the next two days, bottoming at 806.5 points on March 29.

Stocks on the Tehran-based OTC rebound, sending the main index up almost 1% to 814.2 points on Wednesday's close. In the end, IFB finished the week 1% higher.

Petrochemical producers and Tehran Oil Refinery Company were the leading risers on IFB.