(Corrects to show that Qatar was closed for bank holiday)
* Kuwaiti regulator crackdown hits market liquidity
* Egypt volatile as "euphoric" retail investors dominate
* Saudi real estate developer Jabal Omar soars
* Abu Dhabi's TAQA tumbles after Indian acquisition
By Nadia Saleem
DUBAI, March 2 Kuwait's bourse fell to a
six-week low on Sunday as the suspension of several companies
for failing to comply with listing regulations prompted retail
investors to sell. Most other regional share markets also
The Kuwaiti regulator suspended trading in three companies,
two of which saw their losses exceed 75 percent of capital. The
move came sooner than expected; in the past, the regulator has
often waited until the end of March before suspending companies
which infringed rules at the end of the past year, traders said.
The Capital Market Authority has launched a drive to clean
up the market, but its stricter approach may in the short term
at least hurt sentiment in a market that has been largely
"The higher risk of companies being suspended by the
regulator has raised the impetus for retail investors to sell,"
said Fouad Darwish, head of brokerage services at Global
"People are not willing to buy at lower levels, like they
used to, because of a lack of liquidity."
The Kuwaiti stock index lost 0.7 percent, slumping
for a fifth consecutive session to its lowest finish since Jan.
14. Kuwait is the worst-performing market in the Gulf
Cooperation Council this year.
In Egypt, the benchmark index shed 0.6 percent,
easing off Thursday's 65-month high in mild profit-taking. The
market has gained 19.1 percent in 2014, partly on expectations
that army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will run for
Last week, after a surprise government reshuffle, officials
said Sisi would retain his position as defence minister, which
he might need to vacate to run for the presidency. The matter
will be clarified after a draft election law is finalised.
"There is euphoria in the market, which is 80 percent driven
by retail investors, due to the upcoming elections," said Islam
Batrawy, Cairo-based head of regional equity sales at NBK
Capital. "That means more speculation and less fundamental
In Saudi Arabia, the index shed 0.2 percent, easing
off Thursday's multi-year high. Shares in real estate developer
Jabal Omar bucked the trend and surged 8.9 percent to
a record high in what analysts said was retail-investor driven
speculative activity; in the last few days, money has poured
into real estate-related shares.
In the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi National Energy
Company (TAQA) tumbled 4.7 percent after announcing a
consortium in which it owns 51 percent would buy two Indian
hydroelectric power plants in a deal worth $1.6 billion. The
deal expands TAQA's reach but exposes it to the Indian economy,
which has recently been unstable.
Dana Gas rose 1.2 percent after it announced plans
to start upgrading an Egyptian plant that would increase its
output by 25 percent. Its decision may indicate confidence that
it will recover more of the hundreds of millions of dollars owed
to it by Egypt.
Abu Dhabi's measure slipped 0.3 percent, down for a
second session since Wednesday's five-year high. Dubai's bourse
lost 0.9 percent; it has essentially traded sideways
since hitting a five-year high on Feb. 17.
A company named Marka, describing itself as a "retail and
F&B company", said on Saturday that it planned to conduct the
first initial public offer on Dubai's main stock market for five
years in a 275 million dirham ($75 million) deal.
However, when or whether that plan might go ahead remains
unclear; contacted by Reuters, a spokeswoman for the company was
unable to give details of the plan or the company's business, or
identify its owners.
In its statement, Marka said it was still "under
establishment"; Dubai Financial Market rules require companies
to have been incorporated for at least two years before they can
Qatar's stock market was closed for a bank holiday.
* The index retreated 0.7 percent to 7,641 points.
* The index slipped 0.6 percent to 8,076 points.
* The index declined 0.2 percent to 9,089 points.
* The index fell 0.9 percent to 4,184 points.
* The index slipped 0.3 percent to 4,944 points.
* The index slipped 0.2 percent to 1,370 points.
* The index gained 0.1 percent to 7,122 points.
(Editing by Andrew Torchia)