World Economy

(P)GCC Stocks Slip

(P)GCC Stocks Slip(P)GCC Stocks Slip

Most stock markets in the Persian Gulf Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman) fell on Monday as the mood on global exchange darkened because of the ‘No’ vote in Italy’s referendum on constitutional reform, while Egypt’s most heavily traded stock sank on news its chief executive would step down.

Riyadh’s main index fell 0.3% to 7,106 points, but it closed 83 points above its intra-day low and is still up 3.2 percent year-to-date, Reuters reported.

Trading volume shrank slightly but remained healthy compared to this year’s average, and fund managers characterized the selling of stocks as profit-taking rather than a reversal of the strong uptrend of the last few weeks.

A purchasing manager’s index released on Monday showed growth in Saudi Arabia’s non-oil private sector picked up in November from a record low in October.

Petrochemical shares were a mixed bag. Yanbu National Petrochemical fell 1% but the biggest company, Saudi Basic Industries, added 0.3%.

Most banks dropped, with heavyweight Al Rajhi Bank slipping 1.2%.

Dubai’s index pulled back 0.3% as trading volume fell by roughly a half from Sunday. Profit-taking in some large caps which had gained strongly on the previous day was the main drag, with Emaar Properties dropping 0.6%.

But Commercial Bank of Dubai, which is usually sparsely traded, added 5.1% in unusually active volume. Abu Dhabi’s stock index swung 0.9% higher after a volatile session. Blue chips provided the main support with First Gulf Bank adding 2.2% and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank gaining 2.5%.

Cairo’s index of the 30 most liquid shares pulled back 1.8% as Orascom Telecom Media and Technology tumbled nearly 10% in its heaviest trade since 2012.

Local funds were heavy sellers of Egyptian equities, exchange data showed, while foreign funds continued to be net buyers, as they have been since the central bank ditched the Egyptian pound’s peg to the US dollar on Nov. 3.

Meanwhile, stock markets in Asia fell Monday, as investors feared the “no” vote in Italy’s referendum on Sunday could hurt the country’s banking system and spark global contagion.

Major markets in Asia saw sharp drops at the start of trade Monday, but these losses moderated over the day.

Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 both dropped 0.8%, while Korea’s Kospi’s closed down 0.4%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed down 0.3% and the Shanghai Composite ended off 1.2%, even after the much-anticipated trading link connecting the Shenzhen and Hong Kong stock exchanges launched Monday.

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