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Wed 18 Apr 2007 03:10 PM

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Gulf market report - 18 April 2007

The DFM closes up as trading volumes treble compared with yesterday.

"Good things come in threes" - and never a truer word was said in regard to the Dubai Financial Market. Its general index (DFMGI) is up for the third time this week, having today risen 0.85% to 3,864.28.

Almost three times the number of shares were traded on the market compared with yesterday. The market saw 684 million shares trade hands - at a total value of AED1.5 billion - which is a fair jump from yesterday, when only 265 million shares were bought and sold.

The DFM's own shares were again one of the day's top gainers, having risen 13.28% to AED2.90. GulfNav was the second biggest riser, up 9.71% at AED1.13. Being true to its acronym, shares for UPP, Union Properties went up 2.76% to AED3.35, making it the third highest riser on the market.

Today's biggest losers were: Dubai insurer, Aman, The National Bank of Dubai (NBD) and Shuaa which went down 3.85%, 2.37% and 1.15% respectively.

However, not all market watchers were optimistic about today's results.

"Volumes on the DFM have gone up almost three times from yesterday but I believe it is purely speculative based. From the way the market goes up and down and the fact that it moves too fast, it would appear as though there are only a few players who are controlling the movement in the market," said Homman Magelseh, trading manager for Premier Financial Brokerage.

Mr Magelseh added that DFM investors could benefit from the positive news coming from the Saudi Arabian market - especially if listed companies keep posting good first-quarter profit results, as they have been doing.

"Petroleum company Sabic posted a 50% rise in profits, which is good news as our regional markets are linked with major stock markets such as Saudi Arabia. With results like these investors may become more optimistic about our markets," said Mr Magelseh.

Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi Securities Market (ADSM) general index rose 0.60% to 3,072.53. But the banks and financial services sector was dealt a nasty blow, falling 0.19% to 4,469.22. Just like yesterday winners outdid losers by 7:3.

The Saudi Stock exchange, which is still in session, saw shares of Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) surge more than 6% after the company reported a record quarterly profit on higher chemical prices and more output. The index gained 2.5% to 7,548.21 points, snapping declines this week that saw the market fall 5.5%. Still the index is the second-worst performer in the Gulf this year, down 7.2% to Tuesday's close.

"STC results were to be expected giving rising competition in the market," says Ibrahim al-Alwan, deputy chief executive of KSB Capital Group, a Riyadh-based asset manager and brokerage.

Qatar's main stock index closed up for the ninth time in 10 trading days, paced by banks, including Qatar National Bank and Qatar Islamic Bank. The benchmark is up 0.15% at 6,259.01 points. Qatar National rose 0.35% and Qatar Islamic 1.18%, shedding some of its earlier gains in the day. Qatar Electricity & Water Co. surged 5.22%. The index, the worst performer in the Gulf, was down 12.38% this year to Tuesday's close.

Kuwait's main stock index closed at its highest in a year, paced by Global Investment House and Kuwait Cement Co. The benchmark was up 0.5% at 10,588.80 points, extending a rally to a sixth straight trading day. Global rose 1.39% and Kuwait Cement 3.57%. Gulf Bank, which earlier climbed at least 1.25% after reporting on Sunday record quarterly profit, ended the day unchanged. The index, the second-best performer in the Gulf, is up 4.65% this year to Tuesday's close.

While, Oman's main stock index closed up for a fourth day, heading for an all-time high. Bank Muscat and National Bank of Oman pace, rose 2.2% and 1.89% respectively. The benchmark, which hit an all-time high of 5,967.86 points in January, is up 0.63% at 5,918.89 points. The index, the best performer in the Gulf, is up 5.37% this year to Tuesday's close.

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