MANAMA: Gains for the fifth consecutive month at Bahrain Bourse (BHB) propelled the benchmark index over the psychological level of 1,600 points during August 2021.

The Bahrain All Share Index touched a 17-month high level of 1,666.54 points on August 26, followed by declines during the last three trading sessions, to close the month at 1,645.41 points.

The GCC Markets Monthly Report by Kamco Invest shows gains during August 2021 further lifted BHB’s year-to-date (YTD-2021) returns up to 10.4 per cent.

The monthly sector performance chart showed gains for the bulk of the indices, finds analysis by the Kuwait-based research firm.

The financials index topped during the month with a return of 5pc followed by materials and real estate indices with gains of 1.8pc and 1.1pc, respectively.

On the decliners side, the communications services index led with a slump of 7pc followed by the industrials index that fell by 0.6pc.

The monthly stock performance chart was topped by banks with four out of top five gainers from the banking sector.

Bank ABC topped the chart with a gain of 13.9pc last month after the bank reported significant increase in net profits for Q2-2021 that reached $25 million during the quarter as compared with $5m during Q2-2020.

The bank also announced the completion of acquisition of Blom Bank Egypt expanding its presence in Egypt.

AUB was next among the gainers with the stock adding 8.9pc backed by increase in the bank’s net profits.

Bahrain’s largest lender reported profits of $138.9m during Q2-2021 as compared with $122m during Q2-2020.

The increase was led by higher topline that reached $261.2m in Q2-2021 as compared with $256.8m in Q2-2020 as well as lower loan loss provisions during Q2-2021 at $34.7m versus $44.5m in Q2-2020.

On the decliners side, shares of Batelco reported the biggest decline of 7.3pc followed by Nass Corp and Bahrain Cinema with declines of 4.8pc and 4.3pc respectively.

Shares of Nass declined after the company reported a bigger loss of BD6.1m during Q2-2021 as compared with BD5.6m during Q2-2020.

Losses increased after revenues declined from BD29.4m in Q2-2020 to BD21.6m in Q2-2020.

Cineco shares also declined after the company reported a decline in profits to BD0.6m during Q2-2021 from BD1m in Q2-2020.

Trading activity remained upbeat during the month after the holiday-led decline seen during July 2021.

Total volume of shares traded increased by 90.9pc to 79.2m shares as compared with 41.5m shares traded during July 2021.

Value traded also saw a similar surge during August 2021 increasing by 94.5pc to BD20.5m as compared with BD10.5m recorded during July-2021.

Total Q2-2021 net profits for Bahrain-listed companies increased by 164pc year-on-year (YoY) to $663m after key sectors posted an increase in net profits during the quarter.

The materials sector reported profits during Q2-2021 at $246m as compared with a loss of $42.6m during Q2-2020.

Alba reported Q2-2021 net profits of $245.6m bouncing back from a loss of $43.5m in Q2-2020.

The smelter attributed its better-than-expected performance to higher LME prices and strong rebound for global demand underpinned by economic recovery.

Looking at the GCC region as a whole, the MSCI GCC index posted gains for the 10th consecutive month during August 2021 backed by gains in key large-cap sectors during the month.

The index closed at a seven-year high level on August 17, 2021 but as investors booked profits, the index receded towards the end of the month to close at 708.48 points, registering a monthly gain of 4.3pc.

This further pushed YTD-21 gains to 28.6pc for the aggregate GCC index.

Market performance during the month was broadly positive as barring Oman the remaining six exchanges in the GCC posted monthly gains.

The sector performance chart showed mixed returns during the month but highlighted gains for key large-cap sectors.

The chart also highlighted the effects of waning Covid-19 cases in the region as investors booked profits on sectors that were resilient during the pandemic resulting in a decline in sectoral indices last month.

Pharma and biotech reported the biggest decline of 12.6pc during August followed by second consecutive month of declines for the food and beverage and consumer durables and apparel sectors at 3.5pc and 2.7pc, respectively.

Gainers, on the other hand, saw insurance and banks at the top with returns of 7.1pc and 6.9pc, respectively.

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