Analysts say Syria strike isn’t causing panic in Mideast markets
April 16 2018 12:07 AM
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Kuwaiti traders follow the stock market at the Kuwait Stock Exchange in Kuwait City (file). Company results are still investors’ main focus in the Gulf, according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg/London/Dubai

Don’t expect a selloff across the Middle East when markets trade for the first time since the US, UK and France launched strikes on Syria, say investors and analysts.
Company results are still investors’ main focus, while stocks in Qatar could perform well after the government raised $12bn from the biggest sovereign debt sale across emerging market this year.
Here’s what investors and analysts had to say:


Mohammed Ali Yasin, 
chief executive officer, 
FAB Securities
n “People had two days to reflect on it, and I don’t [the strikes] will be a fear factor for people to sell.”
n “What could help the market is maybe the fact that company announcements could start to speed up a bit. We heard about Qatar coming to the market with $12bn in bonds, so that could maybe help the Qatari market. Apart from that, expectations for company results in Saudi Arabia are positive, so I think it will support current prices.”


Mohamad al-Hajj, equities strategist at the research arm of EFG-Hermes 
n “Life goes on. Qatar issued $12bn worth of bonds last weekend, the only thing they had to pay for is a slightly higher premium compared to sovereigns with the same rating within the emerging markets space. So you increase the discount rate, but life goes on.”
n “Specifically in the Middle East and North Africa region, political risk has always been there. For the past twenty years, if you’re investing in Mena equities, geopolitical risk is one of the concerns. But if we look at returns since the Arab spring, for example, banks like CIB in Egypt have delivered returns better than emerging markets. The leading companies in the GCC delivered returns better than emerging markets. So if you pick the right companies and the right countries, I think you will do well. They have strong balance sheets and they can withstand these shocks.”


Nabil al-Rantisi, managing director at Daman 
Investments 
n “The UAE markets have been very resilient recently. And there doesn’t seem to be room for markets to go down from here. Markets reacted a little bit, but not dramatically. The issues in Syria have been there for a long period time, and I don’t think there will be a major panic starting now.”


John Sfakianakis, director of economic research at Gulf Research Center 
n “This is a breather for markets. Last week, the Saudi market went down quite substantially, and that was due to the anticipation of the strikes of the western countries into Syria. This is now behind us. I think it’s a one off event, markets will take relief in today’s (Sunday) session and I think the Saudi market will continue to rise given that this is now behind us.”
n In oil markets, “we see geopolitical risk premium coming in. And we are also seeing that the issue of the oil glut is dissipating. The market is less oversupplied. Even with oil price above $70 a barrel, Saudi Arabia would like to see it closer to $80. We should see oil staying around the $72-$74 per barrel mark, given that the supply issue is now weathering away.”






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