(MENAFN - Arab Times) Kuwait stock exchange pared early gains to settle lower on Sunday, as moderate profit taking kicked in. The market slipped 13.6 points led by National Bank of Kuwait and Wataniya Telecom even as other blue chips closed mostly in the red. NBK shed 2.9 percent in last minute selling and the mobile service provider shed 4.1 percent. Weighted index, the performance gauge of the prime stocks, eased 4.14 points to 359.5 points.
The banking stocks mostly sagged. Al Ahli Bank slid 75 fils and Kuwait Finance House dropped 40 fils as selling picked up before the close. Commercial Bank ended flat whereas Burgan Bank lost 15 fils. The lender had slid 27.3 percent in the previous month and has eroded 46 percent since the start of the year.
Bank of Kuwait and Middle East eased 2 fils , adding to the marginal losses in the previous session. International Financial Advisers fell 3 fils while KIPCO climbed 25 fils. Investment Dar was up 4 fils at close whereas Global Investment House edged 5 fils lower. National Industries Group flunked 11 fils while Agility did not budge from its previous close. Zain too lost 10 fils during the session. KSE index slipped 0.2 percent lower to wind up at 6739.7 points amid a drop in volume turnover.
Some of the middle level stocks posted impressive gains during the day led by Kuwait Foundry Co and Burgan Well Drilling Co which rose 60 fils andd 40 fils respectively. The market had been fairly upbeat during the past week. It closed higher in three of the five sessions and added 73 points week-on-week. The market was buoyed by the passing of the rescue package in the previous week but the index was muted than anticipated as the investors had already factored in the development in the preceding weeks and took positions accordingly. The bourse is down 11.4 percent year-to-date.
The sectoral indices closed mixed. Banking sector shed 2.6 percent led by National Bank of Kuwait and steep losses by Al Ahli Bank while marginal drop in Securities House and some of the mid and large caps pulled the investment sector 0.3 percent lower. The two sectors make for the bulk of the shares traded in the bourse.
Real estate edged 0.8 lower led by moderate losses in Sanam Real Estate Co and some other stocks and insurance sector slipped 2.1 percent. Kuwait Foundry Co and Mena Holding Co paced the industrial sector's 0.6 percent increase.
Service sector was up 0.2 percent at close on back of robust gains by Burgan Well Drilling Co and United Projects Co. Food sector rose 1 percent led by Kout Food Co while non-Kuwaitis posted a 0.8 percent increase.
In the bourse related news, Al-Mal Company, a subsidiary of Al Kharafi Group has announced that it planning the listing of Prince Abdul Aziz City Project, in the Saudi Stock Market during the year. The project, with a capital of 1.33 billion. aims to build a city spread over 156,000 sqm. The expected return on investment of the project is 150 billion. Investors Group Holding has inked an agreement to sell its wholly-owned affiliate Lebanese Company for the Development and Reconstruction
Aviation lease and Finance Co has reached an agreement with China Eastern Airlines to extend the lease contract of two planes. One of the aircrafts an Airbus A320-200 willl be leased for a period of 6 years and the other, a Boeing 737-800 is for a duration of 3 years. ALAFCO has also inked a deal with with Ethiopian Airlines ot lease out Boeing 737-800 for the duration of three years starting from mid 2009. The total market value of leased aircrafts amounts to around 05 million, the company noted.
Investors Group Holding has inked an agreement to sell its wholly-owned affiliate Lebanese Company for the Development and Reconstruction for 5,000,000. The company has posted a profit of approximately 2 million, or KD 0.58 million to be listed in first quarter financial statements for the year 2009. Ministry of Commerce and Industry has given its nod to Tharwa Investment Company to market Tharwa Islamic Financial Fund and internal marketing inside Kuwait.
Agility's profits saw a drop as it feels the impact of the global financial crisis and cancelled its dividend for the past year. The logistics provider posted a profit of KD 33.2 million in fourth-quarter net profit - down 4.9 percent. The company has not recommended any dividend for 2008. Agility, which has spent billion of dollars on acquisitions in the past few, also missed its 2008 revenue target of 7 billion despite a 10 percent rise to as compared to 2007. Full-year net profit fell to KD 141 million from KD 153.9 million in 2007.
The volume of shares dropped 31 percent to 295 million after trading above the 400 million mark in the past four sessions. The market liquidity had been robust in the past week as investors chased value shares across the sectors, in anticipation of the strong growth in the prices after the passing of the financial package.
Banking sector dipped 40 percent and investment sector saw 15 percent drop in volumes. Insurance sector surged 88 percent led by Gulf Insurance Co while real estate saw a 37 percent drop in volume.
Industrials slid 42 percent in volume and services sector shrunk 43 percent in volume. Food sector tapered 17 percent and non-Kuwaitis posted a 34 percent drop in volume.
The market opened on positive note and scaled more grounds in early trading. The index peaked at 6800 points but retreated sharply thereafter as profit taking dominated the trading floor. It slipped below the red and traded sideways in a narrow range for almost two hours. The market sagged further to hit the intra-day low of 6691.8 points, but a spurt in buying at close helped pare the losses slightly.
Kuwaiti real estate sales fell 35.2 percent in February, the eleventh straight month of decline, official data showed. Property sales, especially for residential units, have been falling since the state barred the private firms from taking part in residential real estate deals last year. Residential property deals, which represent the biggest proportion of total real estate transactions, slid 52.59 percent year-to-date in February to KD 45.81 million.
Investment property sales dropped 56.4 percent during the month to KD 20.48 million, while commercial deals almost tripled to KD 34.88 million from KD 12.49 million a year earlier.
Mirroring the tepid mood, the market spread was skewed towards the losers. 45 stocks advanced while 79 closed lower. Of the 144 counters active on Sunday, 20 closed flat. 6361 deals worth KD 54.6 million were transacted — down 36 percent in value over previous session.
Top percentage gainer United Projects Group spiked 13.7 percent to wind up at KD 0.290 and ERESCO climbed 9.8 percent to stand next. IKARUS slid over 11 percent, the steepest decliner of the day, while Al Safwa topped the volume with 23.8 million stocks changing hands.
NBK shed 30 fils to settle at KD 0.990 and Al Ahli Bank bled 75 fils to close at KD 0.475. Burgan Bank end at KD 0.375, down 15 fils and Kuwait Finance House shed 40 fils to finish at KD 1.180. KIPCO rallied 25 fils to KD 0.410 on back of 11.4 million shares whereas Global Investment House slipped 5 fils to settle at KD 0.064. Investment Dar rose 4 fils to wind up at KD 0.083.