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Wed 30 Mar 2011 05:04 PM

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Oman index drops to one month low on arrests

Bank Muscat also sees 1.8% retreat in shares, Renaissance continues slide

Oman index drops to one month low on arrests
INDEX DROP: Omans stock index dropped to a one month low after political unrest spurred arrests (Getty Images)

Oman’s benchmark stock index declined to the lowest level in a month, leading a drop in Arabian Gulf markets, after arrests in the sultanate fueled concern political unrest will worsen.

Renaissance Services, a provider of services to the oil and gas industry, fell for an eighth day and Bank Muscat retreated 1.8 percent. The MSM30 Index decreased for a fourth day, falling 1.8 percent to 6,225.36, the lowest since February 28, at the 1 pm close in Muscat. The measure is down 7.8 percent this year driven by a wave of popular uprisings in the Middle East that sparked protests in the northern Omani city of Sohar. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index has lost 3.5 percent in 2011.

“Political issues will remain the key driver in the region,” said Tariq Qaqish, director and fund manager at Al Mal Capital in Dubai.

Popular unrest in the Middle East has led to the ouster of the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt this year. Omani authorities arrested people suspected of involvement in Sohar’s riots and will put them on trial after investigations are concluded, the state-run Oman News Agency reported yesterday, citing a statement by the Prosecutor General.

Demonstrators took the streets to demand more jobs, higher pay and more representative political institutions.

Renaissance Services tumbled 3.9 percent to 1.015 rials. Bank Muscat, Oman’s biggest bank by assets, fell to 0.708 rial.

Kuwait’s benchmark measure lost 0.5 percent. Agility dropped 5 percent, the most in two weeks, to 380 fils. Kuwait’s storage and transport company, which is accused of overbilling the US military, was properly notified by prosecutors of the charges, a federal judge said, reversing an earlier ruling.

Dubai’s DFM General Index lost 0.8 percent and Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index was little changed. Qatar’s QE Index declined 0.1 percent and Bahrain’s BB All Share Index gained 0.4 percent. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index rose less than 0.1 percent at 2:23 pm in Riyadh.

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