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MENAFN - Bahrain Tribune - 22/07/2008

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(MENAFN - Bahrain Tribune) Optimism prevailed in the GCC, as most of the markets put up smart shows yesterday.

Dubai was tagged as the region's best performer, even as Qatar and Abu Dhabi picked up pace. Crawling closer to the 15K mark, Kuwait also logged-in stylish gains. However, mounting inflation (10.6% in the Q1 '08) further dampened Oman's temper.

Bahrain's reprieve proved to be short-lived. Weighed down by losses in banking that eclipsed gains in the other two sectors, the market closed fractionally lower at 2,831.

Overall volumes improved to 6.13 million from yesterday's 1.70 million. National Bank of Bahrain erased 2%, BBK lost 1%, and Khaleeji Commercial Bank wiped out 1%. Interestingly, Al Salam Bank profited 3%; Gulf Finance House (1%) and Nass Corp. (0.2%) were the other gainers.

Investors continued to pummel the Omani equities for the fourth straight session, dragging the MSM index to the day's nadir of 11,551. Unable to find a ray of hope, all the sectors sank deeper into the quicksand with banking shedding over 1% - National Bank of Oman dwindled 4%, Bank Dhofar withdrew 3%, and Bank Muscat slipped 1%. On a positive note, eight symbols trudged north - Muscat Gases expanded 8%.

Making good an early morning hitch, Kuwait ascended 65 points supported by attractive gains in the key sectors. The banking and services sectors ruled the roost as Bank of Kuwait and ME (up 8%) celebrated a 49% jump in Q2 '08 earnings (KWD 23.70 million); Zain moved up 3%. First Dubai for RE Devt mounted 12%.

On the flip side, the insurance sector eased 37 points as Kuwait Insurance languished 4%; Kuwait National Cinema flopped 6%.

Recovering from an intra-day low of 8,996, Saudi managed to settle in the green, on the back of handsome gains in a majority of the sectors.

The telecom sector hogged the limelight as Saudi Telecom witnessed one of its sharpest climb in recent times as Q2 '08 profits appreciated 24%; Etihad Etisalat swelled 3%. Contrastingly, the banking sector erased 1% with Riyadh Bank deleting similarly; Kingdom Holding fell 3%.

The Qatari market capitalised on some positive earnings releases which propelled the DSM index 73 points higher. Led by services, all the sectors gathered decent figures. Ezdan RE built-up 9%, Qtel advanced 4%, and Qatar National Bank rose 1%. On a 60% hike in H1 '08 profits, Commercial Bank of Qatar rose 2%. However, Qatar General Insurance and Qatar Fuel pared between 3% and 1%.

With investors placing their bets on a number of market biggies, Dubai extended gains for the second day in a row. Barring a dejected Consumer Staples sector, all the other sectors improved their performances.

Deyaar Devt (4%) grabbed the laurel wreath, even as Dubai Islamic Bank and Emaar profited 1% each. On the other hand, newly listed Takaful Emarat tumbled 5%; Grand RE trimmed 1%.

Abu Dhabi
Taking its yearly gains to a smart 9%, Abu Dhabi held-onto its winning tempo for the third consecutive day.

The consumer sector firmed 3% as AD National Hotels scaled 4%. Union Insurance swelled 10%. Conversely, the Telecom and Energy sectors faded a quarter percent each with Sudan Telecom and Taqa paring fractionally.


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