Gulf markets loses steam as optimism over oil deal fades
February 21 2016 09:57 PM
A Saudi trader monitors stocks at the Saudi Investment Bank in Riyadh. The Saudi stock index, which rose 3.9% last week, fell back 0.1% yesterday, though trading remained active. Saudi Basic Industries slipped 0.7%.


Most Gulf stock markets edged down yesterday after oil prices pulled back on Friday, as optimism faded over a proposed deal among crude producers to cap output.
A rise in shares of Commercial International Bank buoyed Egypt’s bourse.
Officials in some oil producing nations are still talking up the deal. Russia’s energy minister said on Saturday consultations should be concluded by March 1, so there could be further surges in oil and equities prices before that date.
However, Brent crude pulled back 3.7% on Friday to $33.01 a barrel, showing expectations among many traders that the deal - if it goes ahead - will do little or nothing to reduce massive oil supplies already in the market.
The Saudi stock index, which rose 3.9% last week, fell back 0.1% yesterday, though trading remained active. Saudi Basic Industries slipped 0.7%.
Some second-tier stocks continued to attract eager buying by local retail investors, however, with Middle East Paper surging its 10% daily limit and Al Tayyar Travel climbing 4.0%.
The Dubai stock index was almost flat. Real estate heavyweight Emaar Properties lost 0.8%.
But construction firm Arabtec surged 8.3% after it reported a net loss of 360mn dirhams ($98.02mn) for the three months to December 31, compared with a loss of 94.4mn dirhams a year earlier.
An analyst at SICO Bahrain had forecast Arabtec would make a quarterly net loss of 123.6mn dirhams in the latest quarter. However, investors may have been encouraged by the fact that the firm’s loss narrowed sharply from a 944.8mn dirham shortfall in the third quarter of 2015.
GFH Financial, the most heavily traded stock, surged 6.9%. It has been rising sharply since Abu Dhabi Financial Group’s capital markets arm, Integrated Capital, said on Wednesday it had increased its stake in GFH to 10%. Previously its stake was 7.4%.
Abu Dhabi’s index edged down 0.1% to 4,209 points.
In Kuwait, mobile communications operator Ooredoo Kuwait jumped 9.4% after it raised its dividend for 2015 despite swinging to a fourth-quarter net loss.
Egypt’s stock index gained 1.1% as Commercial International Bank added 1.9%, while Egyptian Iron & Steel surged 10%. But total trading volume in the market was modest.
Beltone Financial also surged 10%. It has more than doubled in the past eight trading days on expectations that its new owner, Orascom Telecom Media and Technology, will build it into a financial powerhouse.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Kuwait’s index fell 0.2% to 5,132 points; Oman’s index edged down 0.1% to 5,412 points, while Bahrain’s index edged down 0.1% to 1,172 points.

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