Bahrain suspends trading and Kuwait’s gauge falls in trade on Wednesday
Saudi Arabian shares rose for the first time in three days
as oil advanced and Asian stocks rebounded, outweighing concern about
escalating violence in Bahrain. Bahrain suspended trading and Kuwait’s gauge
Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the world’s biggest
petrochemicals maker, climbed 2.4 percent. In Dubai, Emirates Integrated
Telecommunications Co., the phone company known as Du, rose after it was rated
“buy” in new coverage at Shuaa Capital PSC. The benchmark Tadawul All Share
Index climbed 1 percent to 6,069.94 at the 3:30 p.m. close in Riyadh, paring
this week’s retreat to 0.6 percent. The DFM General Index gained 0.5 percent
and the Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of Gulf shares rose less than 0.1 percent.
“Due to the rebound in Asian markets and oil prices,
investors are more at ease to increase their exposure as the Saudi government
announced previously its support to the equity market” said Tariq Qaqish,
director and fund manager at Al Mal Capital PSC in Dubai. The gain in Saudi
Arabian shares also “helped ease investor” worries on Dubai.
Oil rose from a two-week low in New York as escalating
violence in Bahrain stoked concern turmoil may spill into neighboring Saudi
Arabia and threaten supplies from the world’s biggest crude exporter. Crude for
April delivery rose as much as $2.06 to $99.24 a barrel in electronic trading
on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Asian stocks rose for the first time this week on
speculation selloffs since Japan’s worst earthquake have been excessive. The
MSCI Emerging Markets Index gained 0.8 percent and Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock
Average climbed 5.7 percent.
Bahrain’s security forces clashed with protesters on
Wednesday in the capital Manama and hundreds of riot police were deployed. Clashes
between the mainly Shiite-Muslim protesters and the forces of the Sunni
government escalated on March 13, with more than 100 people injured as
demonstrators demanded democracy through elections. King Hamad bin Isa Al
Khalifa on Tuesday declared a three-month state of emergency. The arrival of
Saudi Arabian-led forces has failed to quell the violence.
Dubai’s measure has lost 10 percent since Tunisia’s Zine El
Abidine Ben Ali was ousted by a popular movement on Jan. 14. The uprising
inspired protests throughout the Middle East, leading to the ouster of Egyptian
President Hosni Mubarak last month and reached Saudi Arabia’s neighbors
Bahrain, Oman and Yemen.
Bahrain closed its stock exchange on Wednesday and didn’t
say when operations will resume. The benchmark BB All Share Index has lost 1.3
percent this year. The country’s five-year credit- default swaps dropped 8
basis points to 351 after surging 44 basis points on Tuesday, surpassing
Lebanon, which has a lower credit rating and has been struggling for months to
form a government.
“Renewed clashes between pro-democracy Bahraini citizens
with the pro-government forces supported by intervention from other GCC
countries is causing fear that the Bahraini issue could escalate into other GCC
countries,” said Nabil Farhat, partner at Abu Dhabi-based Al Fajer Securities.
Egypt’s exchange has been closed since the end of trading on
Jan. 27 amid a revolt that led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak last
Sabic climbed the most since March 8 to 97 riyals. Finance
Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf said in a televised interview aired March 5 that the
Saudi Public Fund Agency has bought shares in the market.
Du snapped a two-day decline, rising 1 percent to 3 dirhams.
Kuwait’s SE Price Index dropped 1.2 percent. Qatar’s QE
Index lost 0.8 percent and Abu Dhabi’s measure slipped 0.6 percent. Oman’s
benchmark index fell 0.7 percent.