Regional

Egypt extends rally after peaceful demonstrations, Gulf markets mixed

CAIRO/DUBAI: Egypt’s bourse continued its rally Sunday after a 7 percent surge in the previous session on relief that pro-democracy protests last week took place without major violence, and most Gulf markets ended higher.

Some stocks were even briefly suspended after hitting upward price limits, and traders said the market still had to price in bigger gains by the global depositary receipts of some top Egyptian companies.

“Foreigners are still net buyers in low volume,” said Omar Darwish of brokerage CIBC. “There is relief that there was no significant violence over the weekend.”

Orascom Telecom jumped 4.2 percent and Commercial International Bank ended 3.9 percent higher. Maridive and Oil Services was suspended limit-up after saying it won contracts in Brazil worth $234 million.

The main index rose 2.3 percent, its fifth consecutive gain.

Most Gulf markets were up, but low volumes signalled a lack of a catalyst to spur trading.

Real estate stocks helped lift Abu Dhabi’s index 1.8 percent. Aldar Properties rose 3.4 percent and Sorouh Real Estate added 2.5 percent.

“The expectations are strong for fourth-quarter earnings, particularly in the banking sector,” said Marwan Shurrab, vice president and chief trader at Gulfmena Investments.

Qatar and Saudi Arabian bourses also managed to end higher after hiccups early on in the session.

Qatar’s index inched up, despite news that a new investor for United Development Co. had withdrawn its offer amid a dispute over the timing of its investment. UDC shares ended 4.3 percent lower but traders said the outlook for the market was positive.

“I think the momentum is an up momentum, many companies have announced their last year fourth-quarter earnings ... [a] few are in the process of doing so in the very near future, such activities usually help lift the market specially when the announcements are positive news,” said Yassir Mckee at Al Rayan Financial Brokerage.

The Saudi index climbed 0.3 percent, extending Saturday’s gains. News that the central bank would play a bigger role in supervision of the financial sector will likely further boost sentiment.

However, Dubai’s index was unable to hold on to gains from earlier in the session and ended 0.3 percent lower. Bellwether Emaar Properties slipped 1.5 percent and Dubai Financial Market dropped 2 percent. Kuwait’s market and Bahrain’s bourse ended in positive territory.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 30, 2012, on page 4.

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