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Tue 2 Aug 2011 10:39 AM

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Kingdom gains after tower deal; Saudi TASI falls

UAE, Qatar markets edge higher, extending gains for second day as US debt deal boosts sentiment

Kingdom gains after tower deal; Saudi TASI falls
Dubai stock market

Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding jumped after its associate firm signed a contract to build world's tallest tower in Jeddah, while most shares were down as pressure from global markets continue.

Kingdom Holding gained 2.5 percent. Its associate firm signed a contract worth SR4.6bn ($1.23bn) with Bin Laden Group, the holding company said on Tuesday.

The benchmark slipped 0.4 percent to 6,443 points, halting two-day gains.

World stocks hit a one-month low on Tuesday as investor focus shifted back to weak global growth prospects following sluggish US manufacturing data.

Most large-caps were down. Saudi Telecom Co fell 0.3 percent but Etihad Etisalat bucked the trend and climbed 0.9 percent.

"Telecoms are highly undervalued-- Mobily and STC have been unjustifiably punished by investors in the past few months," said Asim Bukhtiar, head of research at Riyadh Capital.

"If you look at how they both performed in Q2, it's hard to justify why investors have shunned them in recent month. Both are at attractive levels."

Petrochemical stocks led losses with bellwether Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) falling 1.2 percent and Yanbu National Petrochemical Co (Yansab) down 1.5 percent.

UAE
and Qatar's markets edged higher, extending gains for a second day after
sentiment was lifted on a US debt deal to raise the ceiling, signalling a
likelihood the country would avoid a default.

Dubai's
share index climbed 0.7 percent to 1,536 points, touching a two-week high.

Bellwether
Emaar Properties and Arabtec advanced 1.4 percent each.

"Investors
are looking at the global markets before deciding their short-term
investments," says Sachin Mohindra, senior vice president, portfolio
manager, Invest AD.

A
deal in the US to raise its debt ceiling partially mitigates worries, but there
are still concerns over a possible downgrade that may weigh on sentiment going
forward, he says.

Etisalat
helped lift Abu Dhabi's index by 0.3 percent to end at 2,646 points.

The
telecoms operator gained 0.5 percent after its Indian mobile phone joint
venture partner withdrew a petition filed against the company before India's
Company Law Board.

In
Qatar, stocks rebound in late buying with banks supporting. Doha Bank climbed
1.3 percent and Commercial Bank of Qatar rose 2 percent.

The
measure advanced 0.2 percent to 8,429 points, its fourth-straight gain.

Meanwhile,
Masraf Al Rayan declined 0.6 percent after reporting a 14 percent increase in
first-half net profit of 605 million riyals, according a company statement.

Elsewhere,
Kuwait's benchmark gained 0.6 percent to 6,075 points but range-bound activity
is expected to continue until there is a catalyst.

Investors
are waiting for implementation of a $104.2bn development plan aimed to reduce
the state's dependency on oil.

"No
one doubts the economic strength of Kuwait but the issue is how and when the
government will move ahead on the much anticipated development plan. That would
be a major trigger for the market," says Mohindra.

Oman's
Bank Muscat led losses on the index which fell in muted trade.

The
lender fell 0.7 percent, accounting for half of all shares traded on the index.
The benchmark ended 0.4 percent lower at 5,812 points, hovering at Sunday's
two-year low.

"Ramadan's
impact is spread over the market as volumes remain light and investors are
waiting for more results announcements," says Osama Ibrahim al-Qinna, head
of brokerage at Oman Arab Bank.

Losers
outnumbered gainers 14-to-two.

Saudi
Arabia's shares declined as global concerns returned and investors booked
profit from Monday's rally, while Kingdom Holding advanced after signing
contract to build world's tallest tower in Jeddah.

The
benchmark slipped 0.6 percent to 6,429 points. The market made its largest gain
in six weeks on Tuesday after a last-minute deal in US to raise the debt
ceiling spurred gains in world stocks.

Asian
shares fell on Tuesday after weak manufacturing data from US.

Petrochemical
stocks led losses with bellwether Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) falling
1.2 percent and Yanbu National Petrochemical Co (Yansab) down 2 percent.

However,
strength is expected in petrochemical stocks after the global worries wane.

"We
believe as the global picture eases, the names which did well in 2Q11 results
will benefit... names in petrochemicals, retail and telecoms," says Farouk
Miah, equity research analyst at Jeddah-based NCB Capital.

"To
date, the very strong 2Q11 results have not been reflected in the market due to
lack of confidence from investors, based on global issues."

Kingdom
Holding bucked the trend and gained 2 percent after saying its associate firm
signed a contract worth 4.6 billion riyals ($1.23bn) with Bin Laden Group to
build the world's tallest tower in Jeddah.

Elsewhere,
Kuwait's large-caps edged higher with National Bank of Kuwait up 1.9 percent
and Kuwait Finance House rising 2.3 percent.

The
benchmark traded flat at 6,037 points.