Saudi Arabia's bourse made healthy gains ahead of a holiday that stretches over a time of uncertainty in global markets, with petrochemical stocks rising on strong fundamentals.
Bellwether Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) climbed 0.8 percent and Saudi Kayan Petrochemicals rose 2.5 percent. The petrochemical index accounted for nearly half the turnover in the market and climbs 0.8 percent.Speculation is widespread in financial markets that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will use his speech on Friday at a central banker conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to signal a new monetary offensive to support the faltering US economy. US stocks shot up 3 percent on Tuesday.
"There is still a lot of uncertainty about what's going to happen over the holidays- particularly what Bernanke will announce in U.S. on Friday," said Paul Gamble, head of research at Jadwa Investment."The investment approach is to prepare for volatility while you're away, so many individuals are getting out of the market. There are less institutional buyers as well."
Volumes are high in domestic driven sectors like insurance, indicating a risk-averse investor attitude ahead of a long holiday. Investors are uncertain how the global economic situation will unfold amid fears the developed countries may be heading back into recession.
The benchmark ended 1 percent higher at 5,979 points, in its last trading session ahead of the weekend and a long religious holiday for Eid Al Fitr, which marks the end of the Muslim month of fasting.Dubai's property stocks dragged down the index despite news from developer Nakheel on a sukuk issue that was expected to lift investor sentiment.
Dubai's Nakheel will issue the first tranche of a AED4.8bn ($1.31bn) Islamic bond to trade creditors on Thursday, its chairman said, as part of a complex debt restructuring underway since 2009.Contractor Arabtec , one of Nakheel's trade creditors, weighed on the index with a 1.5 percent fall and Emaar Properties slipped 0.4 percent."This thing has been long anticipated, it is supposed to be good news for developers who deal with Nakheel," says an Abu Dhabi-based trader who asked not to be identified due to company policies.
"The market is taking a holiday. When we've all come back from Eid, this will be seen positively. This is one more thing Nakheel has done to put its finance house in order."
The benchmark ended 0.1 percent lower at 1,457 percent, extending its 2011 losses to 10.6 percent.Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi's index added 0.2 percent to end at 2,582 points in its third-straight gain.
Telecoms operator Etisalat climbed 0.5 percent, after it appointed Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar to a newly-created group chief executive role Aldar Properties supported, rising 0.8 percent.
Elsewhere, Qatar's benchmark ended lower by 0.2 percent at 8,109 points, but holds above the support of 8,000 levels.Large-caps weigh with Qatar National Bank slipping 0.2 percent, Industries Qatar retreating 0.5 percent and Qatar Telecom falling 2.5 percent.
Saudi Arabia's petrochemicals pushed up the index following two sessions of flat trading as investors traded on strong sector fundamentals.
Saudi Kayan Petrochemicals , the most active by volume, rose 2.8 percent and bellwether Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) climbed 0.8 percent. The petrochemical index made up the bulk of turnover in the market and climbed 0.9 percent.
"Petrochemical producers still have a fundamental advantage with low fixed feedstock prices," said Paul Gamble, head of research at Jadwa Investment. "At these kinds of levels, they still have good margins. And prices haven't come off that much- we've seen a reasonable recovery in the last week or so."Volumes were high in domestic driven names in the insurance and agriculture and food sectors, indicating a risk-averse investor attitude ahead of a long holiday. Investors are uncertain how the global economic situation will unfold amid fears the developed countries may be heading back into recession.
The main index rose 0.6 percent to 5,953 points, but is still down 10.1 percent for the year.
Elsewhere, Oman's index ended 0.5 percent higher at 5,517 points, recovering Tuesday's losses. Volumes hit a near three-month high.Renaissance Services led gains, closing 2.3 percent higher, as investors picked up the bluechip at attractive price.The oil services firm hit a near two-year low, after it uncovered fraud at its unit Topaz and reported a 77 percent drop in first-half net profit.Oman International Bank climbed 2.4 percent.
Qatar's index hovered close to resistance levels but lacks a clear direction as investors remained uncertain about the global economic slowdown.
Barwa Real Estate was the most active stock by volume, rising 0.2 percent, while Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan Qatar and Qatar National Bank limited index gains, slipping 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent respectively."The market is at a major support above 8,000 but still looking for a direction because of international sentiment," said a Doha-based trader. "The next major resistance is at 8,450 points."The benchmark rose 0.2 percent to 8,139 points, edging back lower after breaking the 8,150 resistance level.
From / Arabian Business news