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Saudi stocks stay weak; Kuwait down, Egypt up – MIDEAST STOCK MARKETS

TOKYO: A pedestrian walks past a share price board illustrating the numbers on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (L) and another showing the yen-US dollar rate (R) in Tokyo yesterday. — AFP
TOKYO: A pedestrian walks past a share price board illustrating the numbers on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (L) and another showing the yen-US dollar rate (R) in Tokyo yesterday. — AFP

DUBAI: Egypt’s market rose slightly yesterday, while Saudi Arabia’s index again slipped back below a psychological support level, with investors wary ahead of the release of the kingdom’s 2016 annual budget later this month. Riyadh’s bourse dipped 0.3 percent to just below 7,000 points and within 120 points of November’s 35-month low.

“Investors are holding off on entering the markets,” said a Riyadh-based portfolio manager. “The budget announcement will be the decisive factor (for deciding) trade positions.”

The budget’s monetary value will indicate the extent to which slumping oil prices have weakened the government’s finances, the trader said. The budgetary allocations to each sector will also shape economic activity in those industries and so are also of great interest to investors, he added.

Kingdom Holding escaped the market gloom to rise 3 percent after the investment firm announced a $339 million cash and 5.8 percent share ownership deal with French hotel giant AccorHotel.

“The deal will most likely be completed at the end of (the) first or second quarter of 2016,” said Sarmad Zok, the chairman and chief executive officer of Kingdom Hotel Investments, a wholly-owned Kingdom Holding subsidiary. “The hotel industry is undergoing a wave of consolidation and this deal, when it goes through, will make us shareholder of the third largest hotel chain in the world.”

Egypt’s main index rose 0.3 percent, advancing for a second day. Global Telecom climbed 1.5 percent.

Benchmark of Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) dropped by 43.37 points to 5,686.15 points, followed by the weighted index which went down by 2.96 and Kuwait-15 index which lost 9.02 points, upon closing yesterday’s session. Value of traded shares amounted at the closing to approximately KD 15.8 million, share turnover some 125.5 million, done in 2,679 deals.

The lackluster performance of Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) during this week’s trading was highlighted by lack of incentives, profit-taking, selective selling operations. Traders this week tried to avoid heavy losses at the market which was heavily affected by the drop in oil price, a determining factor in setting the next year’s budget for many of the oil-rich countries.

At first, small shareholders preferred to wait for more market data before embarking on any moves especially with rumors spreading on the pumping liquidity into the pockets of several leading companies; however, the performance still remained poor at the KSE. Leading operating shares faced heavy losses to their November gains which led the main market players to avoid trade and forced small shareholders to sell their assets randomly. – Agencies

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