MIDEAST STOCK MAR­KETS

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Most stock mar­kets in the Gulf fell yes­ter­day as the mood on global ex­changed dark­ened be­cause of the ‘No’ vote in Italy’s ref­er­en­dum on con­sti­tu­tional re­form, while Egypt’s most heav­ily traded stock sank on news its chief ex­ec­u­tive would step down.

Riyadh’s main in­dex fell 0.3 per­cent to 7,106 points, but it closed 83 points above its in­tra-day low and is still up 3.2 per­cent year-to-date. Trad­ing vol­ume shrank slightly but re­mained healthy com­pared to this year’s av­er­age, and fund man­agers char­ac­ter­ized the sell­ing of stocks as profit-tak­ing rather than an re­ver­sal of the strong up­trend of the last few weeks.

A pur­chas­ing man­ager’s in­dex re­leased yes­ter­day showed growth in Saudi Ara­bia’s non-oil pri­vate sec­tor picked up in Novem­ber from a record low in Oc­to­ber. Petro­chem­i­cal shares were a mixed bag. Yanbu Na­tional Petro­chem­i­cal fell 1.0 per­cent but the big­gest com­pany, Saudi Ba­sic In­dus­tries, added 0.3 per­cent.

Most banks dropped, with heavy­weight Al Ra­jhi Bank slip­ping 1.2 per­cent.

Dubai’s in­dex pulled back 0.3 per­cent as trad­ing vol­ume fell by roughly a half from Sun­day. Profit-tak­ing in some large caps which had gained strongly on the pre­vi­ous day was the main drag, with Emaar Prop­er­ties drop­ping 0.6 per­cent. But Com­mer­cial Bank of Dubai, which is usu­ally sparsely traded, added 5.1 per­cent in un­usu­ally ac­tive vol­ume. Abu Dhabi’s stock in­dex swung 0.9 per­cent higher af­ter a volatile ses­sion. Blue chips pro­vided the main sup­port with First Gulf Bank adding 2.2 per­cent and Abu Dhabi Com­mer­cial Bank gain­ing 2.5 per­cent.

Cairo’s in­dex of the 30 most liq­uid shares pulled back 1.8 per­cent as Oras­com Tele­com Me­dia and Tech­nol­ogy tum­bled nearly 10 per­cent in its heav­i­est trade since 2012. The com­pany an­nounced that Egyp­tian bil­lion­aire Naguib Sawiris had re­signed as chief ex­ec­u­tive and his deputy Tamer El Mahdi was nom­i­nated as suc­ces­sor. It gave no rea­son for the de­par­ture.

Ear­lier on Sun­day, OTMT also said it was clos­ing its Ora­bank af­fil­i­ate in North Korea be­cause of com­plex­ity of com­ply­ing with US sanc­tions on that coun­try. The com­pany added that its telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions as­so­ci­ate Ko­ry­olink would con­tinue op­er­a­tions in North Korea while com­ply­ing with sanc­tions. “In­vestors are still ab­sorb­ing the shock of Sawiris step­ping down and of ex­it­ing the N.Korean bank,” said Wafik Da­wood, port­fo­lio man­ager at Cairo’s Com­pass Cap­i­tal. “But fresh blood could be good news for the com­pany over the longer term.”

Lo­cal funds were heavy sell­ers of Egyp­tian eq­ui­ties, ex­change data showed, while for­eign funds con­tin­ued to be net buyers, as they have been since the cen­tral bank ditched the Egyp­tian pound’s peg to the US dol­lar on Nov 3. —Reuters

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