BEIRUT

Regional

Gulf markets rally after European Union deal, Saudi shares end flat

Mohammad Mursi’s win in the Egyptian presidential election fuelled investor optimism according to analysts.

DUBAI: UAE markets halted declines Sunday and Qatar’s bourse rebounded from a 10-month low after moves by European leaders to ease the eurozone debt crisis boosted investor sentiment. The euro jumped nearly 2 percent, oil prices surged and world stocks rallied Friday after eurozone leaders agreed on measures to cut soaring borrowing costs in Italy and Spain, in addition to directly recapitalizing regional banks.

Dubai’s index rose 0.7 percent, snapping a six-session losing streak.

Bellwether Emaar Properties and Union Properties each advanced 1.8 percent. Deyaar Development gained 2.4 percent. They accounted for about 40 percent of all shares traded.

Abu Dhabi’s benchmark climbed 0.5 percent, up from Thursday’s two-week closing low.

“The UAE reacted well to European banks being supported, and its normal for Saudi’s performance yesterday [Saturday] to feed into the other markets,” said Fouad Darwish, head of brokerage at Kuwait-based Global Investment House.

Gulf markets gains are unlikely to be sustainable as investor activity dwindles. This trading slump is largely due to a usual summer lull, in addition to muted expectations for second-quarter earnings.

“We are approaching Ramadan and we can’t hide the fact that markets are led by retailers. People will shy away from putting in new money. There is skepticism on earnings ... the impetus is just not there.”

In Qatar, the measure finished 1 percent higher, marking its largest one-day gain since Jan. 3.

Heavyweight Qatar National Bank climbed 1.3 percent and Industries Qatar added 1.8 percent.

Elsewhere, Kuwait notched its largest one-day gain since Feb. 19. The index climbed 1.1 percent, up from Thursday’s five-month low with trading focused on small caps.

“Market volumes are still on the low side – the session was dominated by locals, trying to make a quick buck intraday,” said a Kuwait-based traded who asked not to be identified.

Gulf Finance House jumped 7 percent and Investor Holding Group rallied 9.1 percent.

Elsewhere, shares in Saudi Arabia ended near-flat after a choppy session with investors booking profits from Saturday’s surge.

The index eased 0.07 percent, recovering most of the losses from early session.

It slumped to a five-month low Wednesday, but rose 1.9 percent Saturday after eurozone leaders agreed on measures to cut soaring borrowing costs in Italy and Spain.

Petrochemical stocks ended lower with its index down 0.7 percent.

Buying by Saudi investors may increase ahead of second-quarter earnings, despite expectations of lower year-on-year profits for Saudi companies.

“There will be a decline in profitability perhaps with oil prices having dropped,” said Amer Khan, fund manager, Shuaa Asset Management. “But the average price of oil is still good for Q2,” says Khan. “I don’t think numbers will be as bad as people are expecting,” he added.

Brent crude lost about 20 percent in the second-quarter, posting its biggest quarterly decline since the fourth quarter of 2008 due to weak demand, ample supply and economic worries.

Riyad Bank bucked the trend and added 2.2 percent after saying in a bourse statement it will distribute a cash dividend of 975 million riyals ($260 million) for the first half of 2012.

Egypt’s exchange was closed for the end of public sector fiscal year holiday.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 02, 2012, on page 5.

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