Gulf stocks see a rebound as Egypt index falls

Reuters, Tuesday 13 Sep 2011

Bargain-hunters help Gulf markets bounce back, with Saudi and Qatar leading the pack

Most Gulf markets bounced back on Tuesday, as bargain-hunters shrugged off world stock declines, but Egypt's bourse succumbed to fragile global sentiment and political woes at home.

In Qatar, large-caps helped lift the index , recouping some of Monday's losses as local investors returned to the market, with fundamentals overriding fears of a Greek default.

"There is a lot of interest into (stock) weakness," said Matthew Wakeman, EFG-Hermes managing director for cash and equity-linked trading.

"There has been some institutional selling but demand locally is keeping it at current levels. There's a good (economic growth) story there."

The index gained 0.5 per cent, as heavyweights Qatar National Bank and Industries Qatar climbed 0.5 per cent each.

Qatar's robust economy is forecast to grow 16.7 per cent in 2011.

Saudi Arabia's index rose 0.5 per cent, rebounding from Monday's three-week low, as steady oil prices during trading hours lent support to petrochemical stocks.

"If the situation in the euro zone calms, investors should refocus on local fundamentals," said Paul Gamble, head of research at Riyadh-based Jadwa Investment.

"There's a lot going on here. All the economic numbers are good ... The fundamentals are very solid."

Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) gained 0.8 per cent, while Alinma Bank led trading volumes and climbed 1.6 per cent. Al-Rajhi Bank added 0.4 per cent.

In Egypt, the main index fell 1.6 per cent following European markets downwards as investors remained worried about political instability at home.

"European markets suffered a steep fall yesterday and so that is part of the reason why the market is following that trend today," said Hisham Metwalli, trader at Arab Finance Brokerage.

Concerns over the country's political future also drove investors away from the market. Authorities said they would reintroduce special security courts and use emergency law after an attack on the Israeli embassy over the weekend.

"Investors panic when they hear about news like using the emergency law again for example and so this is also a factor in dragging the market down," said Metwalli.

Commercial International Bank fell 2.6 per cent while Citadel Capital lost 3.2 per cent.

In Kuwait, logistics operator Agility jumped climbed 6.3 per cent, gaining for a third day to hit a three-month high.

A Kuwaiti newspaper said on Sunday that Agility may try to buy into the privatisation of Kuwait Airways.

The benchmark retraced Monday's losses, gaining 0.5 per cent to a six-week high on bargain-hunting.

"Funds and institutional (investors) are trying to benefit from the very low valuations - we hit the bottom recently with the lack of trading activity," said Safaa Zbib, head of research at Kuwait and Middle East Financial Investment Co.

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