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Tue 7 Oct 2008 01:30 PM

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Investors ask court to close Kuwait stock market

Kuwait court set to hold hearing into request on Oct 9, says lawyer in TV interview.

A group of unidentified Kuwaiti investors on Tuesday lodged a request at a court urging the government to temporarily close the stock market to protect small investors from losses.

The Kuwaiti court has slated October 9 to hold a hearing on the possible closure of the Kuwait Stock Market, Adel Abdul- Hadi, a lawyer representing the investors, said in an interview with the Dubai-based Al-Arabiya TV, newswire Bloomberg reported.

The move comes as the Kuwait Stock Market hit a 12-month low in performance - but the index is still the best performer in the Gulf region and is in the top 10 worldwide for 2008.

Year to date, the Kuwait exchange is eight percent down which compares favourably with the likes of Saudi Arabia, which is currently about 43 percent down, and Dubai (42 per cent).

The country's commerce and industry minister Ahmad Baqer said on Tuesday that Kuwait stock market's decline was temporary as the local economy was strong but companies should buy back shares to help support the market.

"We think the fall of shares is a temporary issue affected by... global market panic," he said after a meeting with bourse and central bank officials.

He said a governmental task group commissioned to discuss bourse declines has recommended that firms to buy back their shares as a way to support the market.

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