Font Size

- Aa +

Mon 25 Oct 2010 12:10 PM

Font Size

- Aa +

Kuwait's index makes its largest gain in six weeks

NBK climbed 3% after a 2.9% decline on Sunday, traders cautious ahead of Zain stake sale update

Kuwait's index makes its largest gain in six weeks
The Kharafi group has agreed to sell a 46 percent stake in Zain to Etisalat at 1.7 dinars per share. (Getty Images)

Banks and Kharafi-linked companies rise, helped Kuwait's index make its largest gain for six weeks on expectations a stake sale in telecoms operator Zain will be completed.

Burgan Bank climbed 4.2 percent, Gulf Bank added 3.9 percent and Al Ahli Bank rose 3 percent.

Zain fell 1.4 percent. Major shareholder, the Kharafi group, has agreed to sell a 46-percent stake in Zain to Abu Dhabi-listed Emirates Telecommunications Corp (Etisalat) at 1.7 dinars per share.

"The market is all about Zain," said Essa al-Hasawi, assistant manager at Zumorroda Investment Co in Kuwait.

Major Zain shareholder the Kharafi group this week said it saw no problems to completing the deal, while an offer by Securities Group to buy up minor shareholders' Zain stakes at 1.65 dinars per share was rejected by the Kuwait bourse, traders said.

Securities Group has been excluded from the Kharafi-led stake sale and so had been trying to secure a 5 percent stake in Zain, traders add, in a bid to scupper the deal.

"If the Zain deal goes through, the market will benefit because many companies have exposure to Zain and a lot of investors used Zain shares as collateral for bank loans," said Hasawi.

Some of these investors are believed to be in arrears for these loans and the Zain deal will enable them to pay back debts, boosting banks, Hasawi added.

National Investments Co climbed 5.4 percent and National Industries Group added 2.6 percent. Kharafi group owns stakes in both firms.

Kuwait's index climbed 1 percent to 7,032 points, its biggest advance since September 14.

Oman's benchmark rose 0.4 percent to 6,568 points, buoyed by gains in banks. National Bank of Oman added 0.9 percent and Bank Muscat climbed 0.4 percent.

Speculators bet Aldar Properties would

post above-forecast quarterly earnings, helping Abu Dhabi's

index hit a six-month high.

Aldar climbed 2.3 percent and Sorouh Real Estate added 2.8 percent. This pair account for nearly half of all

shares traded on the index, while volumes top 100 million shares

for a fifth session in seven.

"Abu Dhabi has outperformed Dubai as investors speculate in

the real estate sector," said Marwan Shurrab, vice-president and

chief trader at Gulfmena Alternative Investments.

"There are expectations that Aldar's earnings will be better

than forecast, but for now this is just rumour."

Aldar will report a third-quarter loss of 231 million

dirhams, according to analysts polled by Reuters. The stock is

down 33 percent in 2010.

Abu Dhabi's index rose 0.4 percent to 2,833 points, its

highest finish since April 15.

Emaar Properties climbed 0.8 percent and Shuaa

Capital added 2.5 percent as Dubai's index ended higher for a fourth day in five.

"The index is in an upward trend and we still recommend

buying the dips - international performance is supporting

regional markets and we expect Dubai to enter positive territory

for the year," said Shurrab.

"Dubai is a laggard compared to regional markets, so it's

usual for investors to look for a catch-up play."

Dubai's benchmark climbed 0.4 percent to 1,753 points,

trimming its year-to-date losses to 2.8 percent. (Reuters)