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Wed 3 Dec 2008 10:16 AM

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Most Gulf markets in positive territory

UPDATE 4: Saudi, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar exchanges all rise while Bahrain is the sole faller.

Most Gulf markets rose on Wednesday with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar all showing positives and only Bahrain falling.

Kuwait's main index closed more than 1 percent higher after two days of declines as investors snap up shares on expectations the government will begin using a state fund to buy shares after Eid.

Kuwait's measure rose 1.17 percent to 8,866.60 points. Kuwait Finance House advanced 4.76 percent and Kuwait Projects Co 6.25 percent.

"Investors are hearing the Kuwait Investment Authority could be investing in the market, so they are buying." said Jasem al-Zeraei, supervisor of brokerage at National Bank of Kuwait.

Kuwait on Tuesday approved a $7.26 billion fund to invest in the local bourse, which has been hit by the global financial crisis.

Saudi Arabia's index closed higher after falling more than 4 percent on Tuesday as investors took cue from gains on global markets and piled into blue chip stocks, including Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC).

The index advanced 1.45 percent to 4,654 points as SABIC climbs 5.97 percent. U.S. and European shares rebounded on Tuesday, partly on optimism about a government rescue for the US auto industry.

The benchmark of the largest Arab bourse is down almost 60 percent this year.

In Doha, Qatar Telecommunications Co's 1.27 percent gain was offset by a 3.26 percent decline in shares of Commercial Bank of Qatar. The benchmark inched up 0.02 percent to 5,948 points.

Qatar shares fell more than 3 percent on Tuesday after rallying 11.7 percent in the prior five trading days.

Oman's main index closed slightly higher, while Ahli United Bank dragged Bahrain's benchmark down more than 1 percent.

The Muscat measure inches up 0.04 percent to 6,170.46 points as National Bank of Oman rose 3.57 percent.

A joint government and private sector $389.6 million market-maker fund to shore up stocks is helping boost sentiment, said Khalid Abdul Nabi, vice-president of the brokerage at Gulf Investment Services.

"Some see that the market is at a bottom now, but they want to see what happens in the next two months," Abdul Nabi said.

In Bahrain, Ahli United Bank tumbled 9.09 percent, pushing the index down 1.31 percent to 1,918.31 points.

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