1240 GMT - Egypt's bourse hits a fresh 10-week closing high
after a $2.5 billion financial lifeline from Qatar spurs Cairo
investors to buy equities.
Gainers outnumber losers 15 to 12, while six stocks end flat.
Commercial International Bank rises 3.5 percent and
Telecom Egypt gains 1.8 percent.
"There is some momentum from the Qatari aid - people are
betting on valuations and results but generally, it's not a good
condition (for investing in equities)," says a trader at a
regional investment bank. "Foreign reserves are at dangerous
levels, the IMF loan deal is still not closed and there's
nothing clear on the direction of the new government."
A senior International Monetary Fund official met Egypt's
government on Monday to discuss a vital $4.8 billion loan. The
country expects a visit from an IMF technical committee in two
to three weeks, a presidential spokesperson said.
Investors have been betting on the loan for the past few
months and delays are making some nervous.
The market is trading near resistance levels and the rally
is likely to falter, the trader adds.
Cairo's benchmark index climbs 1.1 percent to 5,867
points, its highest finish since Oct. 29. It peaked at 5,969
points on Sept. 26. That was its highest level since January
2011 when a political crisis started that ultimately led to the
exit of former President Hosni Mubarak.
Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia's index rises 1 percent to
7,127 points, its highest close since Sept. 17 as banks support.
Heavyweight Al Rajhi Bank and Samba Financial
Group gain 3.3 and 3.4 percent respectively. Alinma
Bank climbs 3.4 percent.
Analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast Samba's
fourth-quarter profit will rise 16.1 percent.
Investors sentiment for the financial sector was buoyed by
Banque Saudi Fransi reporting a 22.2 percent jump in
quarterly net profit on Monday. The lender's shares rise 0.7
1056 GMT - Dubai's bourse climbs to a fresh 10-month high
and daily traded volumes also hit their highest in same time
period as an economic recovery boosts investor sentiment.
Heavyweight lender Emirates NBD and courier Aramex
rise 3.3 and 4.9 percent respectively. Emaar
Properties adds 0.5 percent and contractor Arabtec
climbs 2.7 percent.
The emirate's index rallies 1 percent to 1,745
points, its highest finish since March 5. The market has jumped
7.6 percent so far this month.
"Given the speed of the rally, you may see some
profit-taking but it is justified - we've seen credit rally and
real estate recover," says Anastasios Dalgiannakis,
institutional trading manager at Mubasher. "The only asset class
lagging was equities and people are finally putting their money
Dubai's property market is gradually recovering as demand
returns, following three years of slump. House prices in Dubai
had plunged by over 50 percent from its peak in 2008.
More than 500 million shares are traded, the highest daily
volume in 10 months.
Shares in National Central Cooling surge 14.7
percent to nine-month high, accounting for a more than a fifth
of all shares traded on the market.
Traders say the move seems exaggerated and lacks fundamental
Abu Dhabi's benchmark slips 0.2 percent to 2,717
points, easing from an 18-month high.
Investors book gains in Aldar Properties and
Sorouh Real Estate, which slip 3.1 and 3.8 percent
The two developers rallied on Tuesday after sources told
Reuters the firms have reached initial merger agreement.
Sorouh said it is in advanced merger talks with Sorouh,
according to a bourse statement on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, Qatar's index gains 0.4 percent to 8,694
points, its highest close since April 30.
Gainers outnumber losers 13 to six on the 20-stock index.
Qatar Electricity and Water gains 1.5 percent and
Qatar Telecom rises 1.4 percent.
"Qatar will continue to focus on fourth-quarter results and
any change in the dividend announcements - if there is any
positive surprise, I would expect it to make up the lag it had,"
says Marwan Shurrab, vice-president and chief trader at Gulfmena
Doha's market fell 4.8 percent in 2012, following three
years of gains. It was among the worst performing market in the
region as investors were disappointed with dividends and with a
slow progress over infrastructure development projects as the
country prepares to host the FIFA World Cup 2022.
0955 GMT - Oman's bourse rises to its highest closing level
in eight months as investors buy financial stocks on
expectations the lenders will post strong growth in
Bank Muscat climbs 1.7 percent, also an
eight-month high. Bank Sohar adds 1.2 percent and Ahli
Bank gains 0.6 percent.
Bank Sohar posted a fourth-quarter growth in net profit of
58.7 percent to 23 million rials after tax, according to a
bourse statement on Tuesday.
"There is a strong accumulation from pension fund on stocks
like Nawras and Bank Muscat - foreign participation is getting
much stronger," says Adel Nasr, United Securities brokerage
manager. "Bank Sohar's results gave a huge confidence to the
market and triggered buying in the banking sector. We are
expecting excellent results from Bank Muscat and Ahli Bank."
There are concerns of limited loan book growth in banks
considered conservative such as National Bank of Oman (NBO)
and HSBC Oman, he adds.
Shares in telecom operator Nawras end flat, while
NBO gains 0.7 percent and HSBC falls 2 percent.
Muscat's benchmark gains 0.4 percent to finish at
5,801 points, its highest since May.
In Kuwait, the measure ends 0.4 percent higher at
6,067 points, a seven-month high. Turnover surged to 41.7
million dinars ($147.82 million), above 2012 daily traded
average of 28 million dinars.
Buying in large-caps supports. National Bank of Kuwait
and Kuwait Finance House gain 1 and 1.2
percent respectively. Telecom operator Zain ends flat,
while Gulf Bank slips 1.2 percent.
"The Kuwait index continues to trade at a mark higher than
the 'turning-point' as many refer to the 6000 points mark,
creating much needed confidence and optimism in the market,"
Global Investment House says in a note.
Global is bullish on the Kuwaiti market, with expectations
of continued support from state-linked funds investing in
0842 GMT - Banks lift Saudi Arabia's bourse to a 16-week
high as strong earnings from Banque Saudi Fransi (BSF)
buoy sentiment for the financial sector.
Heavyweight Al Rajhi Bank rises 1 percent, Samba
Financial Group climbs 07 percent and SABB
adds 1 percent.
Shares in BSF extend gains, rising 0.7 percent. It posted a
22.2 percent jump in quarterly net profit on Monday, beating
estimates of some analysts. The stock rose 3.4 percent on
Dallah Healthcare Holding climbs 5.6 percent to a
new high. The stock, which listed in mid-December, saw strong
demand for its initial public offering.
National Gas and Industrialization slips 0.3
percent. The company reported a small fire at one of its
manufacturing plant on Tuesday, resulting in minor injuries.
Production has not been impacted, it said in a bourse statement.
The kingdom's index rises 0.5 percent to 7,091
points, its highest level since Sept. 19.
Elsewhere, Egypt's bourse rises to a fresh 10-week high after
Qatar lent the country another $2 billion and gave it an extra
$500 million outright to help control a currency crisis.
Cairo's benchmark index climbs 1.1 percent to 5,866
points. Of the 30 stocks, 24 gain.
Palm Hills Development rises 3 percent and
Egyptian Resorts adds 2.6 percent, two of the three
most active stocks.
0635 GMT - Abu Dhabi's market edges lower in early trade,
slipping off multi-month highs as investors book gains, while
Dubai's bourse extends gains.
Abu Dhabi's Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real
Estate each shed 2.5 percent. The two developers surged
on Tuesday after sources told Reuters the firms reached an
initial merger agreement.
Aldar on Wednesday said its merger talks with Sorouh are at
an advanced stage.
Abu Dhabi's measure slips 0.3 percent to 2,715
points, down from an 18-month high.
Dubai's index gains 0.3 percent to 1,733 points, a
fresh 10-month high.
Emaar Properties climbs 1.2 percent as investors
bet on rising housing prices despite concerns of a new limit on
Commercial banks in the United Arab Emirates plan to ask the
central bank to delay and soften new rules placing caps on
mortgage loans for residential housing, banking industry sources
said on Sunday.
A central bank circular last week said mortgage loans for
foreign individuals should not exceed 50 percent of the property
value for a first purchase of a home, and 40 percent for second
and subsequent homes. The caps for UAE citizens were set at 70
percent and 60 percent.
Carrier Air Arabia slips 0.6 percent, while
contractor Arabtec extends gains after winning a $653
million Louvre project on Tuesday. Its share are up 1.2 percent.
Elsewhere, Oman's benchmark rises 0.5 percent to
5,806 points, while Kuwait and Qatar trade near-flat.
0550 GMT - Qatar's $2.5 billion loan to stabilise a currency
crisis in Egypt is likely to spur fresh buying, while other
regional markets will look towards local catalysts as
fourth-quarter earnings season begins.
Political strife has set off a rush to convert Egyptian
pounds to dollars over the past several weeks, sending the
currency to a record low against the U.S. dollar and
draining foreign reserves to a critical level.
The equity market, however, continues to see foreign buyers
with the benchmark index climbing to a 10-week high on
Tuesday. Investors are betting on an improving economy, with
hopes a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund
will come through soon.
The market rose a staggering 50.8 percent in 2012, the best
performing market among regional peers. Some are expecting it to
give strong returns this year as it heads towards pre-crisis
levels when former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted.
In Abu Dhabi, Aldar Properties and Sorouh Real
Estate on Tuesday added fuel to a rally on UAE bourses
driven by bets of strong fourth-quarter earnings.
Aldar and Sorouh jumped 6.4 and 7.2 percent respectively
after sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that the
pair had reached an initial agreement to create a combined
entity with assets worth more than $15 billion.
Aldar on Wednesday said its merger talks with Sorouh are at
an advanced stage.
"There is good buying power in the market - Aldar and Sorouh
confirmed that merger talks are at an advanced stage, which will
give good confidence to investors today," Mohab Maher, senior
manager - institutional desk at MENA Corp, says in a note.
Dubai's index hit a 10-month high, rising 2.1
percent to 1,727 points, amid a surge in trading volumes. It
could break the strong resistance at 1,730 points, Maher says.
Elsewhere, Asian shares rose on Wednesday after rounds of
profit-taking from a sharp rally at the start of the new year
subsided, while investors waited warily for corporate earnings
season to kick off in full force.
($1 = 0.2821 Kuwaiti dinars)
(Reporting by Nadia Saleem; Editing by Matt Smith)