Trading volumes near meltdown at Gulf Arab markets

09:20, August 11, 2010      

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Stock markets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia posted losses on Tuesday, as oil prices fell again below 80 U.S. dollars per barrel.

Amid low trading volumes a day before the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) ended 0.34 percent lower at 1,496.12 points. District cooling specialist Tabreed gained 0.53 percent and closed at 0.376 dirham (0.11 dollar).

Earlier in the day, Tabreed said its revenue in the first half of this year surged 16 percent to 432.3 million dirhams (117.8 million dollars), while its net profit increased 83 percent to 86. 8 million dirhams (23.65 million dollars) compared with the same period in 2009.

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) weakened 0.11 percent, closing at 2508.62 points, while the Kuwait Stock Exchange gained 0.11 percent, finishing at 6,701.2 points.

"Low volumes are expected to continue with the start of Ramadan just around the corner. Results increasingly seem to matter less than global macroeconomic and local debt concerns heading into the second half of the year," Dubai-based investment bank Rasmala said in its latest market analysis.

The Tadawul market in Saudi Arabia ended 0.85 percent lower at 6,264.01 points due to declining oil prices, triggering losses among petrochemical firms. Knowledge Economic City (KEC) was the most liquid stock, closing down 2.91 percent lower at 9.95 Saudi riyals (2.65 dollars).

According to Josef Schuster, founder and CEO of Chicago-based IPOX Schuster, KEC's initial public offering (IPO) Monday was nevertheless a success.

"The positive reception to the Knowledge Economic City IPO underlines the positive momentum in Saudi Arabian IPOs with 75 percent of this year's deals trading substantially above the first close," Schuster said, adding that the experience with "shooting stars" with IPO gain on the first trading has been rather negative.

"The small initial gain should encourage more widespread buying of the stock in regular trading going forward," he said.

KEC's stocks, which were issued at 10 Saudi riyals (2.66 dollars) in May with 1 billion Saudi riyals (272 million dollars) going public, closed at 10.3 Saudi riyals (2.74 dollars) on its first trading day Monday.

Qatar's QE Index closed 0.12 percent higher at 7,126.1 points.



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