While the Stock Exchange of Mauritius (SEM) had started 2014 with a bang, it seems to be losing steam with a dip of 1.4% in just one week starting from 2124.05 on January 22 to close at 2086.62 on January 30.

For the full month, the SEMDEX which stood at 2,095.69 points on 31 December, dipped to 2,086.62 points at close of trade on 30 January, representing a decline of 0.4%.

Six of the seven listed financial services firms ended the week down. The Mauritian Eagle Insurance (MEI) stock dipped 5% to Rs 110 while Cim Financial Services fell 3.6% to Rs 8.14 and the Mauritius Union dipped 0.8% to Rs 129. Of the banks, Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) lost 2.7% ending the week at Rs 208, while the State Bank of Mauritius (SBM) lost 1.9% to close at Rs 1.03 and Bramer Banking lost 4.2% to close at Rs 7.30.

In the financial services sector, only insurance major Swan group avoided losses on the stock exchange, staying put at its opening price of Rs 300.

The trading sector showed a better scorecard as only Vivo Energy notched losses, plunging 3.1% to close at Rs 150.25. On the other hand, Ireland Blyth Limited (IBL) gained 1.2% to Rs 109.75. The other three stocks in the sector held steady: Company Popular Stores Ltd (CMPL) at Rs 27, Harel Mallac at Rs 108 and Innodis at Rs 51. It has also been the most active sector on the stock exchange in the last week, with 158,530 shares traded for a value of over Rs 8,000,000.

On the manufacturing front, Moroil rose 4.9% to Rs 28.85, while Plastic Industry Mauritius (PIM) held steady at Rs 74. All others showed a downward trajectory: Mauritius Chemical and Fertilizers Industries (MCFI) lost 5.1% to close at Rs 24, Phoenix Beverages Limited (PBL) lost 2.5% to close at Rs 194, United Basalt Products (UBP) lost 1.4% to close at Rs 87.50 while Gamma Civic fell to Rs 36, losing 0.3%.

The sector has suffered a blow since it was announced Monday that Mauritius Stationery Manufacturers (MSM), under administration for liquidation, will not return to the SEM.

In the investment sector, POLICY was the worst performer, losing 3.1% to close at Rs 8.24, followed by Terra which fell 2.7% to close at Rs 36.50 while the National Investment Trust (NIT) slipped 2.3% to Rs 6.06. Alteo Limited and Rogers both fell 0.8% to close at Rs 36 and Rs 190 respectively. Belle Mare Holding (BMH) stayed put at Rs 235, ENL Commercial Ltd at Rs 22.50, Fincorp at Rs 17.55, United Docks at Rs 71, Caudan at Rs 1.18 and Rockcastle at $1.30.

The hospitality segment saw Sun Resorts lose 4.1% to close at Rs 44.10 while New Mauritius Hotels slipped 1.7% to Rs 88 even as Lux* Island Resorts lost 1.2 % to Rs 40.

The best performer of the week on the official market was realty player Bluelife Limited, which went up 19% to close at Rs 11.90 after its merger with Indian Ocean Real Estate Company (IOREC).

The performance of the stock exchange so far compares poorly with how the stock exchange managed in 2013, when, despite the difficult economic situation, the Mauritian stock market had put up a good show.

The first semester of 2013 saw all stock exchange indices posting a gain of 10.54% in line with global indices which, after a negative spell in 2011 and 2012, became positive in the first half of 2013.

Image (via African Markets): For the full month, the SEMDEX which stood at 2,095.69 points on 31 December, dipped to 2,086.62 points at close of trade on 30 January, representing a decline of 0.4%.

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