Lebanon Stocks Fall Most in Week as New Premier Talks Delayed

Lebanon’s benchmark stock index fell the most in almost a week after talks between Lebanon’s President Michel Suleiman and lawmakers on the nomination of a new prime minister were postponed until Jan. 24.

The BLOM Stock Index retreated 0.4 percent, the most since Jan. 12, to 1,488.25, at the 12:30 p.m. close in Beirut. The measure has lost 5.6 percent in the past 12 months. Solidere SAL, the largest publicly traded company in Lebanon, led the drop, decreasing 1 percent.

The declines are “related to the political situation and instability,” said Cyril Haddad, head of trading at Ahli Investment Group in the capital Beirut. “The market is very vulnerable to any bad outcome on the political front.”

Hezbollah and its allies toppled the government of Saad Hariri on Jan. 12 when they withdrew from a national unity government over a United Nations’ inquiry investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri.

The Shiite Muslim Hezbollah movement’s leader Hassan Nasrallah said his group and its allies “unanimously” decided not to support the renomination of Hariri as prime minister of a new government. The movement and its allies may nominate Omar Karami for prime minister during parliamentary consultations with the Lebanese president, spokesman Ibrahim Moussawi said in a text message today.

The United Nations prosecutor investigating the killing of Rafiq Hariri is expected to file an indictment this week with the pre-trial judge.

Solidere’s A shares slipped 1 percent, the most since Jan. 13, to $18.77. Byblos Bank SAL, the third-largest Lebanese lender by assets, lost 2.7 percent to $1.80, the lowest since Dec. 29.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zahra Hankir in Dubai at zhankir@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

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