Gulf markets weighed by declining oil prices
Gulf stock markets saw lacklustre trade yesterday as low oil prices and weak earnings weighed on investor sentiment. Crude prices declined for a third day, hovering near $50 a barrel for the first time in three weeks, amid doubts that OPEC members will agree to a cut output.
“Investor sentiment appears to be weak in general on low earnings visibility,” said Vijay Harpalani, fund manager at Dubai-based Al Mal Capital. The potential for an agreement among OPEC producers, the upcoming US elections and a likely Fed rate hike in December have added to uncertainty in the near-term, Harpalani said. Abu Dhabi’s index was flat, with trade dominated by stocks due to report third quarter earnings after the market close.
First Gulf Bank, which plans to merge with National Bank of Abu Dhabi, rose 2.8 per cent. Etisalat, the telecommunications operator which directly or indirectly operates in about 17 countries across the Middle East, slipped one percent. “The overall market is weak and liquidity is every 27.2 percent since October 17. A bourse filing from Zain on Tuesday said it had no material information to disclose behind a spike in trading activity on the company’s shares.
But yesterday, deputy chairman Bader alKharafi told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV that there was no information about a deal to sell the Kharafi family’s stake in Zain. He said trading activity reflected investor confidence in the company, and that a potential sale would depend on the price. Qatar slipped 0.4 percent as weak earnings weighed on investor sentiment. Medicare Group dropped 4.6 percent, leading declines on the bourse. The company reported on Oct. 19 an 85 percent drop in earnings in the third quarter. Petrochemicals, metals and fertiliser producer Industries Qatar lost 3.6 percent. The company on Sunday reported a 28.9 percent drop in quarterly profit.
Al Meera Consumer Goods reported a 4.6 percent profit decline on Wednesday and saw shares fall 2.5 percent. —- Reuters