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Kuwait stocks gain on $9 bn Zain deal

Arab exchanges gain slightly on oil and Asian stocks.

June 9, 2010 10:16 by

Middle East markets were mixed on Tuesday, with most bourses bolstered by a slight turnaround in oil prices and Asian equities as investors briefly halted a sell-off of riskier assets.

Regional moves were limited, however, with Kuwait the largest gainer, climbing 0.9 percent to 6,723 points after Zain completed a $9 billion African asset sale, drawing investors back to the market. Index volumes almost tripled from the day before to reach a three-week high.

Zain’s shares are suspended, but the operator is due to pay out a 170-fils-a-share 2009 dividend this month, with the money expected to be reinvested in stocks, particularly banks.

“Kuwait banks are undervalued by every ratio when compared to regional and international banks,” said Essa Al-Hasawi, assistant manager at Zumorroda Investment Co. in Kuwait, adding National Bank of Kuwait, up 3.5 percent, and Gulf Bank, up 2.4 percent, were likely to be among top picks.

After market hours, Zain said its board would recommend a special dividend of 200-240 fils per share from its asset sale.

“Zain’s deal has given good sentiment to the market,” added Hasawi.

Dubai’s index fell 0.3 percent to 1,514 points, declining for a third session in four to be within a point of Sunday’s 14-month closing low. Abu Dhabi’s benchmark fell for a 12th session in 13, dipping 0.2 percent.

“We’re following international leads and trading is subdued – major players are out of the market,” said Mohamed Laboudi, Prime Emirates relationship manager.

Emaar Properties fell 1.3 percent and Air Arabia lost 1.2 percent, with traders unmoved by the latter’s plan to launch a Jordanian low-cost carrier.

“We see 1,505 points as a strong support level for Dubai and don’t think this will break unless there is significant local news or another global sell off,” added Laboudi.

“The market should trade sideways until we get a positive catalyst – nobody wants to enter the market without a clear direction. People are trying to sell off what they have slowly so as not to push the market down too far – everyone is worried about a double dip global recession.”

The Abu Dhabi index fell 0.2 percent to 2,525 points.

The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) rose 0.2 percent to 5,999.91 points. Only 5 of the 15 sectors saw losses on Tuesday. Sector losses ranged from 0.05 percent in the Building & Construction sector, to losses of 1.33 percent in the Insurance sector. However the loss was matched by a gain of 1.33 percent in Agriculture sector and gains of 1.60 percent in the Media & Publishing sector, ranging down to moderate gains of 0.01 percent in the Industrial Investment sector. Overall market breadth was negative, with 41 advancing companies and 78 decliners recording an AD ratio of 0.53, the Financial Transaction House (FTH) said in its daily market commentary.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) climbed 0.6 percent and Saudi Telecom Co. added 1.2 percent, but these gains may prove fleeting, with the index likely to test support at 5,375 points within the next two months, said Youssef Kassantini, an independent financial analyst.

The Qatari index rose 0.9 percent to 6,821 points. The Omani index climbed 0.4 percent to 6,099 points.

The Bahraini benchmark rose 0.4 percent to 1,414 points.

The Egypt index edged up 0.01 percent to 6,313 points.


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