Dubai, Abu Dhabi stock markets were top GCC performers in January 2021

Bahrain and Oman showed declines, says Kamco Invest

An investor walks through the Dubai Financial Market after Joe Biden won the U.S. presidency, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates November 8, 2020. Image used for illustrative purpose

An investor walks through the Dubai Financial Market after Joe Biden won the U.S. presidency, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates November 8, 2020. Image used for illustrative purpose

REUTERS/Christopher Pike

Most GCC stock markets were higher for the third straight month in January led by the UAE and Kuwait. Bahrain and Oman were the only exchanges that were trailing, according to the GCC Markets Monthly Report by Kamco Invest.


Abu Dhabi followed by Dubai were the best performing markets in the region with gains of 10.9 percent and 6.5 percent mainly led by gain in telecom stocks-- shares of Etisalat and Du--which gained 16.9 percent and 15.5 percent, respectively, after they received approval to raise foreign ownership limit from 20 percent to 49 percent

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) Index started 2021 with the best monthly performance in the GCC. The index reached a 15-year high level of 5,676.15 points by mid-month but receded slightly during the second half to close at 5,593.5 points, registering a monthly gain of 10.9 percent. Gains were broad-based with only the Insurance and Services indices closing with low-single digit declines of 1.7 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.

The Consumer Staples index topped monthly performance with a gain of 21.8 percent with three out of five stocks in the sector reporting gains. Within the sector, shares of Agthia group went up 24.7 percent and reached a two year high.

In the Banking sector, shares of five out of 12 banks reported gains while three reported declines. Shares of FAB gained 14.6 percent after the bank reported better-than-expected profits.

Volumes traded rose 3.8 percent to 2.2 billion shares. Value traded also gained 20 percent m-o-m to 10 billion dirhams.

Dubai Financial Market (DFM) General Index reported the second-best performance in the GCC during the month. The index gained for the third consecutive month to close at 2,654.1 points, registering a monthly gain of 6.5 percent. It hit a 12-month high on 20 January but receded subsequently for the rest of the month after the emirate saw a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Most sectors gained. The Financial & Investment Services index topped with a gain of 15.7 percent following 31.2 percent gain in shares of DFM and 11.7 percent gain in shares of Dubai Investments.

In the Banking sector, gains came mainly on the back of 12.6 percent surge in shares of Emirates NBD followed by 7.4 percent gain in shares of Dubai Islamic Bank.

Insurance and Transportation were the only indices that declined during the month to the tune of 3.3 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively.

Volumes traded on DFM rose marginally by 2.9 percent m-o-m to reach 5.6 billion shares. The total value of shares traded jumped 27.7 percent to 7.2 billion dirhams.

Saudi Arabia

The Tadawul TASI index saw marginal gains for the month after gains during the first half were almost completely offset by declines during the second half.

The benchmark closed at 8,702.6 points; in a monthly gain of 0.1 percent. The sector performance was mixed during the month; equally split between gainers and losers.

The Software & Services index reported the biggest monthly gain of 7.2 percent while Consumer Services index was the biggest decliner, falling 4.5 percent.

Trading activity dropped during the month. Total volume traded fell 43.3 percent to 4.7 billion shares. Value traded also declined by a third to 159.5 billion Saudi riyals.


Boursa Kuwait saw broad-based gains during January-2021 with gains across the four benchmark indices during the month. The Main 50 index continued to outperform with a gain of 5.2 percent followed by 4.2 percent gains for the Premier Market index. The All Share Index also clocked a gain of 4.2 percent for the month.

At a sector level performance was mixed. The Insurance index topped with a gain of 20.2 percent as six out of seven stocks in the sector rose. The Telecom index followed with a gain of 6.8 percent.

However, the Oil & Gas Index reported the biggest decline during the month at 3.0 percent followed by Utilities and Health Care indices with declines of 2.2 percent and 1.3 percent.

Volume traded during the month rose to reach 6.1 billion shares compared to 4.9 billion shares traded in the previous month. However, the value traded fell to 0.85 billion Kuwaiti dinars as compared to 0.92 billion dinars during the previous month.


Qatar Exchange reported consistent gains during the month that pushed the QE20 benchmark to a four-year high level of 10,913.8 points by mid-month but consistent marginal declines during the second half of the month lowered the index to close with a marginal monthly gain of 0.4 percent at 10,473.5 points

The sector performance chart showed Telecom index with the highest monthly return of 10.9 percent following double digit gains in both the constituents, Ooredoo and Vodafone Qatar. On the decliners side, the Real Estate sector topped with a decline of 4.1 percent.

Trading activity on the exchange declined during the month. Total volume of shares traded declined by 14.5 percent to reach 4.0 billion shares as compared to 4.6 billion shares in the previous month. In terms of value traded, the decline was much smaller at 2.6 percent reaching 10.2 billion Qatari rials as compared to 10.5 billion rials in December-2020.


After reporting gains for the previous two months, the Bahrain Bourse closed January with the biggest monthly decline in the GCC. The Bahrain All Share index closed at 1,462.61 points with a decline of 1.8 percent, the highest in eight months, after seeing consistent marginal declines since the start of the year.

The sector performance chart showed large-cap sectors in the red that dragged the index down despite positive performance reported by Insurance and Investment indices at 3.8 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. The Commercial Banks and Industrial indices saw the biggest declines during the month at 2.5 percent, closely followed by the Services index with a decline of 2.4 percent.

Trading activity e improved significantly during the month. Volume traded during the month rose by over 50 percent m-o-m to reach 122.7 million. Value traded also rose 18.9 percent to 16.6 million Bahraini dinars.


After gaining for two consecutive months, the Omani stock market witnessed declines during January, albeit marginally. The MSM 30 index reached 3,653.2 points by the end of the month, recording a decline of 0.2 percent after consistent declines during the last week of trading wiped off gains made over the month.

The monthly sector performance chart was mixed with healthy gains for the Industrial index at 7.3 percent that was more than offset by 2.8 percent decline for the Financial index. The Services index, on the other hand, reported marginal gains of 0.2 percent.

Trading activity declined during the month. Volume traded during the month fell 11.4 percent m-o-m to reach 179.1 million. Value traded also declined 18.1 percent to reach a four-month low level of 27.2 million Omani rials.

(Writing by Brinda Darasha; editing by Daniel Luiz)

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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