GCC markets led higher in April tracking global optimism: Kamco Invest

MSCI GCC Index gained 4.5% pushed year-to-date gains to nearly 18%

Electronic boards displaying stock information are seen as investors look on on the floor of the ADX Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange stock market. Image used for illustrative purpose

Electronic boards displaying stock information are seen as investors look on on the floor of the ADX Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange stock market. Image used for illustrative purpose

REUTERS/Stringer .

The GCC equity markets reported gains during April 2021, in line with the optimism seen in the global markets. According to the GCC Markets Monthly Report by Kamco Invest, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar led the monthly equity performance chart with strong gains.

As a result, the MSCI GCC Index gained 4.5 percent during the month to close at a six-and-half year high, pushing year-to-date (YTD) gains to 17.8 percent. Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabian markets remained top YTD performers in the region with gains of almost 20 percent followed by Kuwait, with a gain 10.2 percent.

The sector performance chart also showed a broad-based rally during the month with only Insurance and Consumer Durable & Apparel sectors showing declines of 2.1 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively.


Abu Dhabi gained for the seventh consecutive month.  The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) Index closed above the psychologically critical 6,000 mark at 6,046.8 points, registering a growth of 2.3 percent, the second-biggest monthly growth in the GCC after Saudi Arabia.

The monthly sector performance chart was almost equally split between gainers and losers. The chart was once again topped by Investment & Financial Services index with a gain of 37.7 percent, driven by 42.2 percent gain in shares of International Holdings Company (IHC).

On the decliner’s side, the Real Estate index reported the biggest monthly decline of 6.2 percent followed by Consumer Staples and Telecom indices with declines of 2.6 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.

Volumes traded plunged 29 percent to 3.1 billion shares. Value traded fell a shade to 23.4 billion dirhams.

After two months of subdued performance, Dubai Financial Market (DFM) General Index saw its first gains in April.These resulted in a slightly higher YTD returns of 4.6 percent, one of the lowest amongst major exchanges in the GCC.

Sector performance was mixed but gain in large-cap sectors resulted in overall gains.

The Real Estate and Construction Index topped the monthly performance chart with a gain of 5.2 percent mainly led by gain in shares of Emaar Development, Emaar Malls and Emaar Properties, partially offset by 1.12 percent decline in shares of Union Properties.

On the decliners side, the Consumer Staples index topped with a decline of 7.8 percent followed by Telecom and Financial Services indices with declines of 6.7 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively.

Trading activity on DFM, however, plunged back into the red after gaining in the previous months. Volume traded fell more than 22 percent to 2.2 billion shares in April compared to the prior month. The total value of shares traded fell 25 percent to 3.2 billion dirhams.

Saudi Arabia

The Tadawul TASI index rally continued for the fourth consecutive month during April, recording the second-best monthly performance in the GCC. The sustained rally resulted in the benchmark breaching the 10,000 mark at the start of the month.

The benchmark closed at 10,419.0 points, the highest recorded level since October 2014, recording a monthly gain of 5.2 percent. This pushed the YTD gains to 19.9 percent, the highest returns this year in the GCC.

Most sectors performed well. The Healthcare sector continued to be resilient with the sector benchmark adding 15.2 percent after all the constituent stocks in the index witnessed gains. Dr. Sulaiman Al Habib Medical and Dallah Healthcare saw share prices rise over 20 percent after after both reported healthy y-o-y growth in net profits during Q1-2021.

Trading activity declined for the first time in three months, led by seasonal factors during the month of Ramadan. Total volume traded declined to 6.5 billion shares during April from 10.4 billion during the previous month. Value traded fell over 36 percent to 293.3 billion Saudi riyals.


Kuwaiti benchmarks recorded the best monthly performance during April with all benchmark indices ending in the green by the end of the month. However, unlike the previous month when large-cap stocks outperformed, the gains during April was mainly led by mid-caps and small cap stocks on the market.

The Main 50 Index rose 8.8 percent while the Main Market index rose 9.4 percent. The Premier Market index reported a relatively smaller gain of 4.7 percent. The All Share Index gained 5.8 percent after 17 out of 25 constituent stocks in the index reported gains during the month.

Agility was the best performing stock in the Premier Market index with a gain of 30.6 percent, which came after it announced the sale of its logistics operation business to DSV Panalpina in a deal valued at $4.1 billion.

At a sector level, most advanced. The gainers side was topped by the Technology Index with a gain of 30.5 percent. The Industrials index was next with a gain of 15.6 percent followed by Financial Services and Real Estate Indices with gains of 14.0 percent and 13.0 percent, respectively.

Trading activity was higher during the month with volumes jumping nearly 60 percent to 7.5 billion shares, a seven-month high. Value traded rose to 1.1 million Kuwaiti dinars compared with 907.6 million dinars in March.


The Qatar Stock Exchange once again recorded the third-best monthly performance in the GCC during April, witnessing gains for the second consecutive month.

The QE20 benchmark rose 4.9 percent to 10,911.4 points, while the Qatar All Share index closed with a slightly smaller gain of 4.2 percent, indicating broad-based gains.

The sector performance chart showed gains for almost all the sectors on the exchange barring the Transportation sector that declined marginally.

Trading activity on the exchange improved despite being the month of Ramadan. Total volume of shares traded rose by 15 percent to reach 6.7 billion shares. Value traded gained 14 percent to reach 12.7 billion Qatari rials.

The Qatari cabinet approved a draft law to allow non-Qatari investors to own up to 100 percent of the capital of listed companies. The news boosted shares of large-cap stocks in the market resulting in cumulative gains of almost 4 percent in the QE 20 index on 14 and 15 April as the move would translate into flow of additional funds in the market.


The Bahrain Bourse was back in the green during April-2021 after reporting marginal declines during March. The Bahrain All Share Index closed up 1.8 percent at 1,484.85 points, the biggest monthly gain in five months.

However, on YTD basis, the benchmark continued to remain in the red and was the only market to record a decline, albeit marginal.   

The sectoral performance was mixed.

The Industrial index topped with a return of 13 percent followed by Services and Commercial Bank indices with gains of 2.7 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. Industrials was led by a 13.4 percent gain in shares of Aluminium Bahrain.

Hotels & Tourism index reported the biggest decline during the month at 3.2 percent followed by Insurance and Investment indices with declines of 1.8 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

Trading activity declined for the first time in four months. Volume traded during the month fell to 39.2 million from 81.4 million in the previous month. Value traded too fell to 8.8 million Bahraini dinars, from 23.8 million dinars; the lowest monthly level since October-2016.


The Omani stock market gained for the second consecutive month during April. The MSM 30 Index rose by 1.4 percent during the month to close at 3,761 points; the smallest monthly gain in the GCC during the month, resulting in YTD gain of 2.8 percent.

The Industrial index witnessed the biggest growth during the month with a gain of 13.9 percent followed by Services and Financials at with gains of 2.2 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

Trading activity fell during the month after seeing growth in the previous two months. Volume traded fell 34 percent m-o-m to reach 430.9 million. Value traded fell 17.6 percent to reach 68.1 million Omani rials.

During April, Oman became the fourth country in the GCC to implement a Value Added Tax (VAT) of 5 percent on goods and services in the country as well as on imported items. During this implementation, the government significantly expanded the list of goods subject to zero-rate VAT from 93 basic food commodities to 488 items.

(Writing by Brinda Darasha; editing by Seban Scaria)


Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. The content does not provide tax, legal or investment advice or opinion regarding the suitability, value or profitability of any particular security, portfolio or investment strategy. Read our full disclaimer policy here.

© ZAWYA 2021

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