Gulf stock markets cannot resist weak global trend

08:42, May 12, 2010      

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Stock markets in the Gulf Arab countries Tuesday failed to sustain the bullish momentum from the previous day, as global investors looked at Europe after the joint IMF-EU shield plan worth 750 billion euros (956 billion U.S. dollars) to protect the European common currency.

Earlier, the IMF urged Europe to take deliberate steps to get back on a growth path. The back-to-work attitude stopped the euphoric sentiment at Western and Middle Eastern exchanges alike.

The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) declined by 1.96 percent and closed at 1,706.58 points. Shares of market bellwether Emaar Properties closed 2.81 percent lower at 3.81 dirhams (about 1.03 dollar). The DFM ended with only one stock rising, while 23 titles lost value and three remained flat.

In Abu Dhabi, the ADX General Index ended 0.23 percent down at 2,788.48 points. The Kuwait Stock Exchange outperformed the region by falling only 8.6 points at 7,084.6 points. In Doha, the Qatar Exchange bucked the trend and closed insignificantly higher at 7, 346.94 points, up 0.17 percent.

Saudi Arabia's Tadawul market, the largest stock market in the Gulf in relation to market capitalization of 360.75 billion dollars, dropped 1.05 percent and finished at 6,689.81 points.

Despite the roller-coaster market environment, the pipeline for Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) stayed filled after a strong comeback of new listing in the first quarter of 2010, with Saudi Arabia leading the development.

According to Ernst and Young, regional IPOs during the first quarter reached 420.5 million dollars from six IPOs, up from 83.6 million dollars in the same period of last year. Five out the six were Saudi IPOs and one came from Qatar. Three out of the six were insurance operators. Qatar's Mazaya Qatar Real Estate Development Company was the largest listing with a size of 144.2 million dollars.

"This year's turnaround in ME (Middle East) IPO Activity is a positive sign for the region," said Josef Schuster, CEO of IPOX Schuster in Chicago, which observes the performance of IPOs worldwide.

"The continued recovery will depend on performance of IPOs after last week's massive volatility. With this week's debut of South Korea's Samsung Life and Poland's PZU insurance, two high profile deals which have already priced, the strength of the global IPO market will be tested. Should these deals trade positively, we expect a positive effect on ME deal flow as well," he added.



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