Iran stocks rise after six months of decline

Iranian flagThe index of the Tehran Stock Exchange has risen nearly 8% since negotiators agreed a framework deal on the country's nuclear programme on Thursday.

Investors are hoping the western powers will begin to relieve the sanctions that isolate Iran from the global banking system and prevent it buying a range of goods from aircraft to oil industry equipment.

The news comes at a good time for investors in the exchange, who have watched stock prices decline for six consecutive months.

"The combination of uncertain outcomes with regards to the nuclear talks as well as the ongoing stagnation in the economy, have contributed to the downward trend of the stock market this past month," wrote Turqoise Partners, an asset manager based in Tehran, in an investment update published in March.

If sanctions relief progresses as hoped, the ban that prevents Iranian institutions from engaging with the Swift international settlement system may be lifted, allowing fund managers to invest in the Tehran exchange for the first time in years.

This inflow of capital could lead to even bigger gains for Iranian equities, which in February were trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of five times, significantly lower than most emerging market stock exchanges.

The Tehran Stock Exchange has a market capitalisation of $112 billion at the official exchange rate.

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