Region dragged down by global tumble

Dubai : Middle Eastern stock markets fell yesterday because of the global downturn in equities, but the region outperformed emerging markets in Asia, where MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares ex-Japan plunged 3.6 per cent.

Because of low oil prices and poor liquidity, the Gulf greatly underperformed the uptrend in global emerging markets last year, so fund managers say it may be less prone to profit-taking and have less distance to fall on the way down.

The Saudi stock index fell 1.6pc with declining stocks outnumbering gainers by 169 to 13. Cement shares continued to pull back after big gains last week, with Jouf Cement down 3.3pc.

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Mediterranean & Gulf Cooperative Insurance and Reinsurance fell a further 5pc, having lost almost 10pc on each of the previous two days. The Capital Market Authority has said it might suspend or cancel trade in the stock following the central bank’s decision to prohibit the firm from issuing or renewing policies pending a capital increase.

But the biggest bank, National Commercial Bank, rose 0.7pc. It reported a fourth-quarter net profit of 2.56 billion riyals ($683 million), up from 2.29bn riyals a year ago. SICO Bahrain had forecast 2.16bn riyals.

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Dubai’s index fell 1.5pc as losing stocks outnumbered gainers by 32 to three. Abu Dhabi’s index sagged 0.9pc.

In Qatar, the index lost 2.1pc. Salam International Investment, the most heavily traded stock, closed 3.2pc lower, far off its intra-day low.  Egypt’s index lost 1.6pc but exchange data showed foreign investors were net buyers of strocks, by a modest margin.

Source Credit: DT News

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