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Mon 11 Jun 2007 11:56 AM

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Muscat shares tumble after Gonu

Listed companies take a battering in the first day of trading following the cyclone.

Shares on the Muscat Securities Market are taking a battering following the devastation left in the wake of Cyclone Gonu.

Oman’s main index was down 3.570% earlier this morning, with 21 stocks down on the first day of trading since the cyclone hit.

At 11.45am Al Sharqia Investment Holding was the heaviest hit, with its value down 9.99%, followed by Dhofar International (down 7.92%) and Bank Muscat (down 6.94%).

"This is a direct reaction after a natural catastrophe," Rami Sidani at Shuaa Capital told Reuters. "People still don't know how much damage the listed companies have, but usually such a reaction is shortlived."

The market was closed on Wednesday and Thursday as the cyclone ripped through the country. It remained shut on Sunday because brokerage companies were not "able to practice trading from their offices due to the current circumstances," according to the bourse.

Oman's stock market regulator asked companies on Sunday to report any losses they may have suffered from Gonu.

Oman Holdings International reported that some of its subsidiaries suffered water-induced damage to their properties in Muscat in a statement on the Muscat bourse website. It said that "the extent of is not significant […] in relation to the total size of our operations […] Most of our operations opened to business on Sunday."

Oman Telecommunications (Omantel) said it would disclose its assessment of its losses from Cyclone Gonu after repairing its damaged network.

Oman Oil Marketing Company said that there were some minor damages at some of its filling stations and commercial installations, details of which are still being obtained. “All our immoveable property, however, is fully insured including coverage for risks associated with cyclone, storms and floods. The main terminal installation at Mina Al Fahal and our vehicle fleet is safe with no major damages,” the company said on the bourse website.

“We had resumed deliveries to our valued customers from Friday morning, initially on a limited scale but have been increasing it gradually with the roads opening up and people reporting to work.”