Gulf mar­kets weighed by de­clin­ing oil prices

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

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

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