By: Mahmoud Gamal
Mubasher: Four GCC bourses ended August on a positive note, led by the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) and Boursa Kuwait amid hopes that the two markets will be added to the FTSE Emerging Markets Index late next month.
Meanwhile, the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) continued its decline, dropping by more than 6% in August as its political rift with other GCC members continues.
On 29 September and following the closing of US stock markets, the FTSE is set to announce its decision on whether or not it will list the Saudi and Kuwaiti bourses in its secondary Emerging Markets Index.
Tadawul leads gainers
The Saudi Stock Exchange led risers amongst its GCC counterparts, after its benchmark Tadawul All Share Index (TASI) surged 2.3% to 7,258.6 points, after Alinma Bank, AlRajhi Bank, and SAPTCO jumped 6.7%, 6.3%, and 6%, respectively.
The Kuwaiti bourse came in second after its benchmark price index grew 0.59% by the end of August to close at 6,892.1 points, backed by Zain, Boubyan Bank, Kuwait Finance House (KFH) and the National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), which surged 9.2%, 7.4%, 7.45% and 5.4%, respectively.
Commenting on the two bourses’ performance in August, analyst Ibrahim Al Filkawy told Mubasher that the potential listing of the Saudi and Kuwaiti bourses on the FTSE Emerging Markets Index was likely the reason that prompted strong speculation by portfolios.
The analyst expects strong trading activity in the Saudi and Kuwaiti markets during September in anticipation and ahead of the FTSE listing.
Meanwhile, Oman’s Muscat Securities Market (MSM) closed the month at rise of 0.56% to 5,052.55 points after Al Anwar Holding, Bank Muscat and Bank Sohar gained 8.4%, 5.4% and 4.8%, respectively.
The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) was the lowest riser, edging up 0.12% to conclude the month at 3,637.55 points, after Emaar Properties added 4.4%, while Emirates NBD and Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) increased 4.3% and 3%, respectively.
Market analyst and CEO of Topsy Turvy Fadi El-Ghattis noted that real estate companies like Emaar have become attractive to investors particularly non-Arabs, added to some companies in the insurance sector.
QSE suffers sharp drop
On the flipside, the Qatari bourse nosedived by 6.44%, or 605.5 points, to end the month at 8,800.56 points following strong selling pressures as the rift between the Gulf state and its neighbours in the GCC continues.
Commenting on the QSE’s performance in August, El-Ghattis told Mubasher that many foreign investors were clearing out their portfolios of Qatari stocks owing to the political uncertainty as well as the recent negative ratings given to the Qatari economy.
In the meantime, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), the second bourse in the UAE, shed 2.2% to 4,468.41 points, after its telecom heavyweight Etisalat slid 4.5% and Aldar Properties fell 1.3%.
Similarly, the Bahrain Bourse retreated 1.9% to 1,302.46 points after its leading stock GFH Financial Group plunged 20%.
El-Ghattis expects markets to see positive performance in September after the conclusion of the Eid Al Adha and summer holidays.
GCC markets are closed on Thursday, 31 August and Sunday, 3 September on the occasion of the Eid holiday. The ADX and DFM will resume trading on Monday, while the Kuwaiti and Omani bourses will resume trading on Tuesday.
The QSE, Tadawul, and Bahrain will recommence trading on Wednesday.
Translated by: Nada Adel Sobhi