|03 July, 2019

Mideast Stocks: Most Gulf markets reverse course, Kuwait extends gains on MSCI upgrade

Dubai ends four days of gains

Investors work the floor of the Kuwait Stock Market March 12, 2003 in Kuwait City, Kuwait. Photo for illustrative purposes.

Investors work the floor of the Kuwait Stock Market March 12, 2003 in Kuwait City, Kuwait. Photo for illustrative purposes.

Getty Images/Spencer Platt

Most major Middle East markets clawed back earlier losses on Wednesday largely on back of their financial stocks, while Kuwait rose for the fifth straight session after MSCI's decision to upgrade Kuwaiti equities to its main emerging markets index.

The Saudi index rose 0.2% with Al Rajhi Bank rising 0.6% and National Commercial Bank  up 0.7%.

Gulf General Cooperative Insurance jumped 7.7% after it won an insurance contract worth over 5% of its revenue in 2018. 

The index is up 12.8% this year, led by foreign investors. Saudi exchange data released on Monday showed foreigners bought a net 16.16 billion riyals ($4.31 billion) worth of Saudi stocks last month.

Kuwait's index rose 0.8%, gaining for a fifth straight session. Last week, index compiler MSCI said it would move Kuwaiti equities to its main emerging markets index in 2020, a move that could trigger billions of dollars of inflows. 

Kuwait has outperformed its Gulf peers in anticipation of the MSCI move, gaining over 23% in the year-to-date.

Middle Eastern funds plan to continue increasing their investments in Kuwait over the next three months, a Reuters poll found earlier this week. 

Qatar's index edged up 0.1%. Telecommunications operators Ooredoo jumped 3.2% while Vodafone Qatar was up 0.4% ahead of their stock split on Thursday.

The index has gained in recent sessions as a 10-to-one stock split for companies on the exchange is being phased in from June 9 and will be completed by July 7. The move is designed to boost liquidity by encouraging smaller investors to buy shares.

In Dubai, the index  dropped 0.5% after four days of gains, pressured by a 1.3% fall in Emaar Properties and a 0.4% drop in its largest lender Emirates NBD.

Growth of the United Arab Emirates' non-oil private sector softened a bit in June due to a slight increase in overall input prices, a survey of companies showed on Wednesday. 

The Abu Dhabi index edged up 0.2% with First Abu Dhabi Bank , the United Arab Emirates' largest lender, closing 0.7% higher. Egypt's blue-chip index .EGX30 traded flat with Telecom Egypt  adding 2.2% and market heavyweight Commercial International Bankslipping 0.5%.

($1 = 3.7502 riyals)

(Reporting by Ateeq Shariff in Bengaluru Editing by Frances Kerry) ((AteeqUr.Shariff@thomsonreuters.com; +918067497129;))

More From Markets