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MENAFN - Bahrain Tribune - 19/08/2008

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(MENAFN - Bahrain Tribune) Yesterday, most of the GCC bourses took a breather from the selling saga that haunted the region in the last few sessions.

Spurred by all-round buying, Qatar climbed back onto the 11K level; the twin UAE indices were also back in the black on handsome gains in most of the market heavyweights. Elsewhere, Bahrain reeled under further selling pressure.

Weighed down by massive injuries in the banking and investment sectors, Bahrain surrendered another 1%. Investcorp Bank (-4%) slumped to a 52-week low of 2,500; Gulf Finance House and Ahli United Bank pared 2% each. Only the insurance sector stayed afloat as Arab Insurance Group edged up 1%; Tameerk rose 3%. The market breadth was a photo-finish with 4 advancers against 4 decliners.

Offsetting losses in the banking and industry sectors, services single- handedly pushed Oman onto the day's summit of 10,469. Accounting for nearly 50% of the overall volumes of 9.12 million, Sohar Power (38%) made a strong debut; Omantel scaled over 3% - eight regional and global telecom companies expressed interest in bidding for its 25% stake. Ironically, sellers slightly outpaced buyers in an A/D ratio of 6:7 - ONIC Hldg and Oman Cem erased 4% and 2%, respectively.

Remaining dejected for most part of the day, Kuwait closed 16 points below the centerline. The food sector was the chief culprit as Kout Food Group spoiled 7%; Mena RE collapsed 7% and Gulf Rocks cracked 6%.

Despite the gloom, the banking and industrial sectors accumulated decent gains - National Bank of Kuwait (2%) climbed 40 fils to close at KWD 1.860 and Mena Holding firmed 5%. Kuwait Invest Holding garnered 5% after earning a profit of 59.7 million from selling 50% of its unit to EFG-Herms Holding.

Shooting-up to the day's peak of 8,411, Saudi extended gains for the sixth day in a row. The banking sector topped the leader board with Arab National Bank ascending 3%; Saudi Arabia Refineries escalated 10% and National Agri Marketing strengthened 9%. In contrast, the energy sector diffused 2% on a similar loss in Saudi E-city. Qassim Agri failed 4%.

Breaking the two-day's morose spell, Qatar returned with a bang on across-the-board buying spree. The Banking sector grabbed the victory podium - volume leader Masraf-Al Rayan rose half-a-percent, Comml Bk of Qat climbed 3%, and Qat Nat Bk added 2%. Unable to match the pace, six stocks waned - Qat Cinema flopped 8% and Zad Hldg dropped 2%.

After witnessing sharp declines in the past few sessions, Dubai staged a recovery act yesterday, amidst renewed buying interest. Boosted by a 4% ascent in National Cem, the materials sector took pole position; Tamweel (4%) recuperated smartly from yesterday's blow. However, insurance equities received a harsh treatment - Takaful House (-2%), Islamic Arab Ins (-2%), and Takaful Emarat (-1%) all wilted.

Abu Dhabi
Making good of yesterday's slight hitch, Abu Dhabi accumulated more than half-a-percent to finish at 4,558. The banking sector hogged the limelight as Comml Bk Intl and First Gulf Bk profited 6% and 3%, in the order; Emirates Driving zoomed 10%. On the flip side, the Industrial sector tumbled on a 9% plunge in AD Aviation; Etisalat lost 0.5%.
Contributed by TAIB


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