Most Gulf markets up in thin trade, Bahrain weighs

Volumes were low as investors weighed up the implications of renewed unrest in Bahrain
Most Gulf markets up in thin trade, Bahrain weighs
SOLE TRADER: Only one stock was traded on Bahrains bourse after it re-opened for business (Getty Images)
By Reuters
Thu 17 Mar 2011 11:26 AM

Most Gulf Arab markets edged higher on Thursday, but volumes were low as
investors weighed up the implications of renewed unrest in Bahrain.

Five of six regional benchmarks rose but Oman's trading volumes slumped to a
2011 low and Qatar's to a two-month low.

"Foreign investors are not only de-risking regionally but de-risking
globally," said Bader Al-Ghanim, Global Investment House vice-president of
GCC asset management in Kuwait.

"Japan doesn't look good, US numbers are starting to deteriorate and
oil prices are rising."

Bahrain's index BAX resumed trading on Thursday following a one-day
suspension, rising 0.1 percent as six stocks traded, generating a combined
volumes of less than 770,000 shares.

Bahrain arrested at least six opposition leaders on Thursday while Japan
doused an overheating nuclear plant with water on Thursday.

Abu Dhabi's benchmark index ADI fell for a fourth day, but Dubai's index DFM
rose 1.2 percent to trim its 2011 losses to 9.7 percent.

In Dubai, builder Arabtec rose 2.9 percent and Emaar Properties gained 2.5
percent.

"Weakness on lower volumes was expected to be the fairly common
pre-weekend theme across the MENA board today, but Qatar remains in positive
territory as a combination of solid fundamentals and relative safe-haven status
bring a few cautious buyers to the table," said Julian Bruce, EFG-Hermes
director of institutional equity sales in Dubai.

Doha's index rose for a first day in four. Industries Qatar and Qatar
Telecom were the main supports, climbing 2 and 2.5 percent respectively.

Qatar Navigation fell 5.6 percent after it proposed a 4 riyals-per-share
dividend.

"Most investors had expected Qatar Navigation to pay out bonus shares
and a cash dividend, so they didn't like the announcement," said Hani
Girgis, assistant chief dealer at Dlala brokerage in Doha. "It's the last
day of the week and investors are cautious given what's happening in the Middle
East."

Up to Wednesday, international funds had sold the Qatar stocks they bought
at the start of the week, Girgis added, with the country's benchmark easing
from Sunday's three-week high.

State funds bought Kuwait bluechips, said Global's Ghanim.

Zain's climbed 3 percent and Kuwait Finance House added 1.9 percent.

Oman's index MSI closed higher in thin trade.

"Most of the tension is on Friday, [as] demonstrations take place after
Friday prayers," added Ghanim. "Markets will be volatile according to
what happens in the region."

He said Japan had impacted regional market fundamentals, but political
unrest would dictate sentiment.

Renaissance Services rose 2.1 percent to a three-week high, as traders
bought in ahead of a subsidiary's $500m London listing.

Thursday’s highlights:

Qatar

* The index QSI rose 0.8 percent to 8,186 points.

Dubai

* The measure DFM rose 1.2 percent to 1,472 points.

Abu Dhabi

* The benchmark ADI fell 0.6 percent to 2,585 points.

Oman

* The index MSI climbed 0.4 percent to 6,270 points.

Kuwait

* The benchmark KWSE rose 0.2 percent to 6,264 points.

Bahrain

* The measure BAX edged up 0.1 percent to 1,414 points.

 

 

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