Reuters – Middle Eastern stock markets were mixed on Monday as Dubai bounced back from the previous day’s losses while Saudi Arabia’s index was almost unchanged as investors awaited the release of the Kingdom’s state budget, expected in the coming days.
The Saudi index fluctuated narrowly before ending down 0.01 percent at 6,930 points. Trading volume was modest as many investors were unwilling to trade without knowing the size of spending cuts expected in the budget.
However, petrochemical producer Saudi Basic Industries fell 1.7 percent to SR84.75, heading toward its December low of SR83.25.
“Current market sentiment is fragile and people are not willing to rotate into sectors that are heavily dependent on government spending or those that are export-oriented,” said Mohammad Al-Shammasi, head of asset management at Riyadh-based Derayah Financial.
Dubai’s index rebounded 2.5 percent to 3,101 points, gathering momentum on higher volumes in the final hour of trade as bargain buyers bought on dips. The benchmark is now 250 points above the year’s low.
Gainers outnumbered losers 19 to 7 with all blue chips rising after Sunday’s profit taking sell-off. Emaar Properties and builder Drake & Scull recouped all of Sunday’s losses, rising 3.2 and 3.5 percent respectively. Both stocks are up over 8 percent from a week ago.
Abu Dhabi heavyweights Etisalat and National Bank of Abu Dhabi jumped 2.9 and 2.5 percent. Abu Dhabi’s benchmark climbed 0.9 percent in its fourth session of gains; trading volume was the second heaviest so far in December. On Sunday, it was the heaviest.
Qatar resumed trade after the market was closed for a national holiday on Sunday and the Doha benchmark slipped 0.1 percent. Losers outnumbered gainers 11 to 3, with Gulf International Services — a stock that was removed from MSCI’s emerging market index in November — leading declines; it retreated 3.3 percent.
Egypt’s index rose 0.8 percent, its sixth straight gain, with Commercial International Bank and Orascom Telecom carrying the market higher for a second day.
CIB, the bourse’s largest bank by market value, rose 2.6 percent.
The lender is up 4.6 percent since Thursday’s close after agreeing to sell investment banking subsidiary CI Capital to Orascom Telecom for 1 billion Egyptian pounds ($128 million).
Orascom Telecom, the most heavily traded stock, surged 6.7 percent; it is up 8.5 percent since Thursday’s close.