MUSCAT — The Muscat Securities Market saw across-the-board selling yesterday with the MSM index closing with a loss of 1.38 per cent to plunge to 5084 points. The selling was initially noticed in the banking and financial sector stocks. BankMuscat, OIB, Alliance Housing Bank and ONIC were the heavy weights that lost between 2-3 per cent. National Bank of Oman closed flat at RO5.24. Towards the end of the session, news that government will be imposing royalties on cement companies on raw materials extracted from the quarries exacerbated the sell off. At present, royalty on clinker and gypsum along with the rent on quarries are exempt by the government. Both Raysut Cement and Oman Cement shed four per cent. Only eight stocks closed positive.
Modern Poultry led the gainer's chart closing 8.15 per cent up at 650 baisas. Sweets of Oman with 17.5 per cent decline was the biggest loser, it closed at 610 baisas.
Poor stock market sentiment in the region and redemption pressure on cross border funds appears to be the key reason for the bearish trend in the local markets. Omantel closed at RO1.29, down 1.9 per cent. The NAV of Oryx Fund as on May 7, 2006 was RO1.261. — BankMuscat