DUBAI Nov 4 Gulf bourses were mostly lower on
Sunday with political tension weighing on Kuwait, while Saudi
Arabia's measure gained in thin trade.
Kuwait's index slumped to a new eight-year closing
low ahead of a major demonstration planned by the opposition
later in the day. The market finished 0.1 percent lower.
The opposition said it would would press ahead with the
march to protest against new voting rules, while the government
warned it would not tolerate unsanctioned demonstrations. Some
protests in recent weeks have seen clashes between police and
"Retail investors were nervous today - we have another
protest tonight. But I don't think too much will happen because
a lot of security forces have been sent out," said a
Kuwait-based trader who asked not to be identified.
Nine of the 10 largest stocks by market value closed flat,
with smaller stocks facing the brunt of the selling pressure.
Government-linked funds were seen buying larger blue chips to
support the market during some periods of market weakness last
month and investors think they may do so again, though there was
little if any such buying noted on Sunday.
National Ranges was the most active stock, falling
2.8 percent. Ithmaar Bank shed 1.1 percent.
"Not many people are selling, trading values are low -
people are scared to leave or to enter the market," said Fouad
Darwish, head of brokerage services at Global Investment House.
In contrast to other Gulf countries, few Kuwait companies
have so far reported third-quarter earnings, apparently because
they want to limit the negative impact from the political
tensions on their stocks, he added. They seem to be calculating
that politics-related selling is less likely if investors are
still hoping for positive third-quarter earnings surprises.
In Qatar, the bourse slipped from its six-week high
as investors booked recent gains, with Industries Qatar
the main drag. Industries Qatar fell 2.4 percent to
150.9 riyals, down from Thursday's four-year high - suggesting
it has not cleanly broken major technical resistance at the
January 2011 intra-day high of 154.50.
If the stock falls on Monday, that will create a bearish
engulfing pattern on the daily candlestick chart, a classic sign
of the end of an uptrend for the short term.
"IQ's price is on the upper end, but they are also getting
into a lot of projects so the bar will be raised," said Yassir
Mckee, wealth manager at Al Rayan Financial Brokerage.
"They have the potential to break the 52-week high but
trading is a little bit speculative - materialisation of the
projects will take some time."
Doha's index ended 0.5 percent lower at 8,565 points
in its largest one-day decline since Sept. 26.
The market's year-end target is near the 8,600 level, Mckee
added. "Everybody is waiting for the big-ticket projects and new
construction but I don't see that happening this year. People
will try to cash in on the (year-end) dividends, so there won't
be a lot of selling."
Qatar Electricity and Water shed 0.7 percent and
Qatar National Bank slipped 0.3 percent.
Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia bucked the regional trend. The index
rose 0.2 percent, up for a third straight session, but
trading volumes were low as investors stayed cautious.
The insurance sector rose 2.4 percent, accounting
for a third of all trading volume on the bourse. Short-term
retail investors often target insurance stocks because they are
plays on domestic demand, avoiding petrochemical and banking
shares which are more affected by global trends.
"Right now it's a wait and see period - there's more
cautious behaviour from investors right now because of global
events like the U.S. elections," said Muhammad Faisal Potrik,
research analyst at Riyad Capital.
"We could see some improvement since the market did get
bogged down. Petchem prices have improved on average since the
last quarter and Q4 is likely to be better."
Petrochemical stocks edged higher, with Saudi Basic
Industries Corp (SABIC), the Gulf's largest listed
company, adding 0.3 percent.
In the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi's measure
dipped 0.2 percent, easing away from a 15-month high.
Heavyweight Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank fell 1.5
percent. The lender posted a quarterly profit decline, missing
by a considerable margin the forecasts of analysts who had
predicted, on average, a 23-percent increase in quarterly
Dubai's benchmark closed 0.3 percent lower, trading
within a 20-point range since last Monday.
Dubai Financial Market, the only listed Gulf
bourse, fell 1.0 percent. It said its third-quarter net loss
narrowed to 1.7 million dirhams ($463,000) from 9.3 million in
the same period last year.
* The benchmark slipped 0.1 percent to 5,650 points.
* The measure fell 0.5 percent to 8,565 points.
* The benchmark gained 0.2 percent to 6,814 points.
* The index declined 0.2 percent to 2,670 points.
* The measure fell 0.3 percent to 1,619 points.
* The benchmark climbed 0.3 percent to 5,703 points.
* The index gained 0.1 percent to 1,053 points.