Gains help Bahrain Bourse to close on 16-month high

Prominent gainers during the month included Zain Bahrain with its shares up 7.9%

  
Traders wait at the Bahrain Bourse after Joe Biden won the U.S. presidency, in Manama, Bahrain, November 8, 2020.

Traders wait at the Bahrain Bourse after Joe Biden won the U.S. presidency, in Manama, Bahrain, November 8, 2020.

REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

MANAMA: Gains for the fourth consecutive month enabled the Bahrain Bourse (BHB) to close on a 16-month high in July.

However, the marginal gains were not enough to lift the Bahrain All Share Index over the psychological mark of 1,600 points, with the benchmark ending last month on 1,597 points, up 0.6 per cent from the end-June level, shows analysis by Kuwait-based Kamco.

Performance during the month was skewed towards the second half of the month which saw consistent gains that more than offset the decline seen during the first half.

The self-regulated multi-asset marketplace also announced a new sectoral classification, as part of a strategy to enhance transparency and efficiency in Bahrain’s capital market and to adopt best international practices.

The new classification is based on the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) and enables easier company and sectoral comparability with global peers as well as comparability between companies and sectors.

Prominent gainers during the month included Zain Bahrain with its shares up 7.9pc backed by strong quarterly results, followed by Seef Properties and Bahrain Kuwait Insurance, with gains of 7.4pc and 7.2pc, respectively.

Shares of Seef Properties gained after the company entered into a 5-year property management agreement with Diyar Al Muharraq for providing services for the Souq Al Baraha project.

Among decliners, shares of Ithmaar Holding topped with a slide of 27.1pc followed by Bahrain Islamic Bank and Nass with declines of 8pc and 2.3pc, respectively.

Of the other listed companies that reported earnings last month, Batelco announced healthy growth in revenues and net profits during Q2-2021.

The telecom’s revenues increased by 6.7pc to BD98.4 million during Q2-2021 as compared with BD92.2m during Q2-2020.

Net profits also increased from BD17.3m in Q2-2020 to BD17.8m in Q2-2021.

The increase in revenues came mainly on the back of a year-on-year (YoY) increase in fixed broadband, adjacent services and wholesale revenues by 18pc, 16pc and 5pc, respectively.

The company’s subscriber base increased marginally from 3.7m as of end-June last year to 3.8m as of end-June-2021.

The telecoms firm also declared an interim dividend of 13.5 fils per share for H1-2021.

Zain Bahrain also reported healthy growth in profits during Q2-2021.

The telco reported a net profit of BD1.25m in Q2-2021, an increase of 61pc YoY from BD0.78m in Q2-2020.

The increase was led by an 8.5pc increase in revenues during the quarter that reached BD16.2m as compared with BD15m during Q2-2020.

During the quarter, the company continued to invest in improving its product and service innovation, operational efficiency and customer experience and expanded its 5G network to newly-developed housing areas of Bahrain with investing in accelerated data growth across its mobile and fixed networks.

Among banks, Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait reported a 14pc YoY increase in net profit that reached BD13.8m in Q2-2021 as compared with BD12.1m in Q2-2020.

The increase was backed by a steep YoY decline in provisions during the quarter that reached BD0.7m as compared with BD4.3m during Q2-2020.

The bank had reported a provision reversal during Q1-2021 at BD0.3m and BD1.1m during Q4-2020, based on data from Reuters Eikon.

Net interest income reported by the bank increased from BD19.8m in Q2-2020 to BD20.4m during Q2-2021.

In terms of balance sheet, the bank reported a decline in net loans from BD1.6 billion at the end of Q2-2020 to BD1.5bn as of end-Q2-2021.

The Kamco report shows that equity markets in the GCC were up for the ninth consecutive month during July-2021, although the gains were marginal as compared with the previous months.

Monthly performance was mixed but skewed towards gainers, with Dubai’s benchmark reporting the biggest decline during the month of 1.6pc followed by the MSX Index that declined by 0.8pc.

As a result, the MSCI GCC index reported flattish performance with a rise of 1pc.

Year-to-date (YTD-2021) upswing as of end-July-2021 stood at 23.7pc, one of the best globally, and was backed by the rally in Abu Dhabi which was the best performing globally with a YTD-21 return of 45pc.

Qatar and Bahrain were the only benchmark with single digit YTD-21 gains, while the rest of GCC indices showed double digit performance.

The sector performance chart also reflected an overall mixed trend during the month with an almost equal split between gainers and losers.

The Capital Goods index topped monthly performance chart with a increase of 10.2pc followed by pharma and biotech and utilities indices with gains of 4.7pc and 4.2pc, respectively.

Among the decliners, the rally in the F&B index took a break resulting in a drop of 3.1pc followed by the Food & Drug Retailing and Consumer Durable & Apparel index with declines of 2.9pc and 1.9pc, respectively.

Large-cap sectors like banks and energy showed flattish returns while materials reported a gain of 3.2pc.

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