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MENAFN - Arab Times - 02/03/2011

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(MENAFN - Arab Times) Kuwait stocks plunged headlong on Tuesday. The index dived 159.7 points weighed by weakness in the regional markets. Most heavyweights buckled under selling pressure and some of the mid-caps too suffered steep losses.

The increasingly remote chance of successful completion of the Zain-Etisalat deal also dented the trading floor.

The benchmark closed at 6,321.4 points - an eight-month low, while the weighted index slid 14.05 points to 438.97 points.

The volume turnover surged during the session after falling below the 100 million mark on Thursday. 116.97 million shares changed hands - a 45.7 percent jump from the previous session. The volume was been anemic during February in wake of Mideast unrest and lackluster earnings.

National Bank of Kuwait plunged 60 fils after stagnating in the day earlier. It wound up at KD 1.340 and saw 3.64 million shares change hands.

The scrip had dropped 100 fils during last month and is down by same measure since start of the year.

Kuwait Finance House too dived 60 fils to end at KD 1.100 after trading 4.97 million shares while Gulf Bank dropped 25 fils adding to the loss in the previous session. Commercial Bank did not budge from its earlier close of KD 0.930 whereas Al Ahli Bank was down 10 fils at KD 0.660.

Bourse heavyweight Zain shed 20 fils to settle at KD 1.360. The counter saw 2.54 million shares change hands. Zain last week had rejected offers from Kingdom Holding, Bahrain Telecommunications Co and Al Riyadh Group for its 25 percent stake in Saudi unit and Kharafi Group.

Kharafi Group, a major Zain stake holder, had stated last week that it would not allow Etisalat to extend due diligence beyond the end of February whereas Etisalats chief financial officer asserted that he expected the due diligence would be completed on schedule.

Were not getting any information on how the deal is progressing, so there is a lot of uncertainty, Reuter quoted a KSE trader who asked not to be identified. Kuwait has been closed while other markets fell sharply, so today is a catch up with that, he added.

Agility dropped 25 fils to KD 0.345 and Wataniya Telecom slumped 80 fils to close at KD 1.680. The scrip had shed 180 fils during February and has lost 320 fils year-to-date.

Among other heavy losers, Kuwait Portland Cement tumbled 100 fils - the highest permitted single day drop and wound up at KD 1.700 and Combined Group Contracting Co followed suit to end at KD 0.285. Kuwait Food Co (Americana) dived 80 fils to KD 1.400 after stagnating in the previous session. The scrip had lost 160 fils during last month and has eroded 240 fils since start of the year.

National Investment Co, a Kharafi Group unit, slid 25 fils to end at KD 0.325 while KIPCO eased 5 fils to close at KD 0.385. The investment conglomerate has posted a net profit of KD 14 million in the three months to Dec 31 and has earned KD 45 million during whole of 2010. The board has recommended a cash dividend of 20 fils per share and 5 percent stock dividend.

National Industries Group dropped 20 fils to KD 0.270 after trading 1.25 million shares and Gulf Cables dropped 60 fils. Kuwait Gulf Links bucked the trend to add 6 fils and KGL Logistics Co gained 10 fils to settle at KD 0.315.

ALAFCO was down 25 fils at KD 0.350 with a volume turnover of 5.4 million shares.

The bourse opened on an extremely bearish note and went into a tailspin in early trade as investors rushed to offload their positions to limit their losses. The index stabilized thereafter and moved sideways as mood turned brittle. It hit the days lowest level of 6,306.7 points in the final minutes and managed to slightly pare the losses at close.

The top gainer of the day, Dar Al Thuraya Real Estate Co soared 7.2 percent to KD 0.052 while Kuwait Gulf Links climbed 4.6 percent to stand next. National Slaughter House plunged 16.4 percent, the biggest loser of the day and Kuwait International Bank topped the volume with 10.22 million shares changing hands.

The market spread was skewed heavily towards the losers. 3 stocks advanced while 96 closed lower. 10 stocks did not move in either direction. 2,668 deals worth KD 33.67 million were transacted - a 144.7 percent surge in value over previous session.

The sectoral indices swung sharply lower. Banking sector slid 3.4 percent - the steepest decliner of the day, while investment dropped 2.3 percent. Insurance eased 0.5 percent while real estate and industrials shed 2.4 percent each. Services was down 2.7 percent and while food and non-Kuwaiti eroded 2.8 percent and 2.6 percent respectively.

The bourse had been mixed during last week. It closed higher in 3 of the 5 sessions and shed 78 points week-on-week. It had dived 378 points during whole of February and has dropped 9 percent since start of the year.

KSE, with 215 listed companies, is the second largest bourse in the region.
In the banking sector, Ahli United Bank dropped 20 fils while Burgan Bank closed 25 fils lower. The lender has announced net profit of KD 4,655,000 and earnings per share of 3.6 fils in 2010 and the board of directors has recommended dividend of 5 percent bonus shares or 5 shares for every 100 shares held. Boubyan Bank eased 10 fils to settle at KD 0.590.

Global Investment House slipped 2.5 fils and Bayan Investment followed suit. International Financial Advisers edged 2 fils lower. IFA has obtained the approval of Central Bank of Kuwait on Feb 9, 2011 to purchase or sell up to 10 percent of own issued shares.

Meanwhile, Kuwait Stock Exchange has suspended the following companies from trading for failing to publish the financial results within the stipulated time period: Al Safat Global Holding Company, Al Dar Investment Company, International Leasing and Investment Company, Villa Moda Lifestyle Company, International Investment Group, Network Holding Company, Securities House Company, Gulf International Investment Company, International Investor Company, Aayan Leasing and Investment Company, Al Dar National Real Estate Company and Educational Group Holding Company.
In the bourse related news, Abyaar Real Estate Development Co incurred a net loss of KD 4,996,913. Loss per share 4.77 fils in full year 2010 as against net loss of KD 29,247,558 and loss per share last of 37.26 in the year before. The Board of Directors recommended no dividend payout for the fiscal year.

MENA Real Estate Co has logged a net loss of KD 634,612 and loss per share of 3.26 fils in the nine-month period ended Dec 31, 2010 as compared to net profit of KD 628,154 and earnings per share of 3.21 fils.

Al-Safat Investment Co has incurred a net loss of KD 5,003,611 and loss per share of 6.48 fils for the nine months ended on Sept 30 as against a net loss of KD 6,747,994 and loss per share of 8.74 fils.

By: John Mathews


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