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MENAFN - Muscat Daily - 22/09/2012

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(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) After a promising start by GCC markets early last week on the back of the US Federal Reserve's announcement of new monetary-easing policies, the Muscat Securities Market's (MSM) gains were limited towards the latter part on emerging concerns over the EU crisis and the global slowdown, as well as profit-booking and the absence of local triggers.The benchmark MSM30 index finished the week on a positive note, edging up 0.25 per cent to close at 5,603.23, and was supported by most of the banking shares, in addition to Al Maha Petroleum Products and Al Anwar Ceramic Tiles.Also last week, the Al Arabi Oman 20 index gained 0.01 per cent to close at 1013.92 as turnover amounted to RO16.44mn. The Al Arabi GCC 50 index added 0.34 per cent and the Al Arabi MENA200 index registered an increase of 0.22 per cent to close at 934.36.Investor attention in global markets is expected to wane with the approaching third-quarter results season.As mentioned earlier, we expect strategic stocks, as well as those with a high correlation to results and have posted solid cumulative performances in the first two quarters of the year - thus proving their ability during tough times - to attract investors. Additionally, shares that have shown historically healthy third and fourth quarter performances will also be under the spotlight.We expect to see more restructuring of portfolios and closing of positions this week and the third quarter, which will result in real investment opportunities, especially in some leading stocks. High dividend yield stocks also are expected to attract investor interest.Among the sub-indices last week, the Financial index made the most gains, rising 0.44 per cent to close at 6,308.49. Support came from HSBC Oman, Bank Sohar and bank muscat, in addition to Oman United Insurance.Bank Nizwa shares witnessed notable activity and topped traded volumes with 22 per cent of total market volumes, as big block trades were witnessed on the stock.As mentioned earlier, the Royal Decree on legislation and organised instructions on Islamic banking in the sultanate are expected any moment. This will mark a new era for both Islamic and conventional banks, which will result in additional focus on these stocks both in the secondary as well as primary markets.The Services index came in second, adding 0.33 per cent on a week-on-week basis, despite declines in heavyweight telecom shares, as Al Maha Petroleum, Shell Oman Marketing, Sohar Power and OIFC supported the index.OIFC was the best market performer surging 8.2 per cent on a w-o-w basis to close at 184bz.Meanwhile, the Industrial index retreated after the previous week's gains and lost 0.58 per cent to finish the week at 7,073.71, following selling pressure on Al Jazeera Steel, Al Hassan Engineering and Oman Fisheries, in addition to a decline in cement stocks.Last week saw two announcements related to Al Jazeera Steel. The first was an update on the antidumping case in the US against the company while the second related to the delisting of the company's shares from the Dubai Financial Market.Al Jazeera said that the verdict by the US Department of Commerce as to whether the anti-dumping duty levied on the company would stay or be revised is due in October.The stock ended the week down five per cent to close at 281bz. Total volumes rose 3.64 per cent to 114.6mn shares, while, total traded value declined 20 per cent to RO23.3mn.For the third consecutive week, foreign institutions made their presence felt in the market as they finished the week as net buyers of RO1.22mn of shares, to offset selling by local investors.In news of vital significance to Oman's economic growth, a company official at Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) said the company's intends to invest US26bn in hydrocarbon exploration and production over the next five years.According to media reports, an official of the Ministry of Oil and Gas said that around US60bn-70bn is expected to be invested in the oil sector alone between 2013 and 2022, while an additional US40bn will be spent on the gas sector for exploration and production purposes.These notable investments, of over US100bn, would result in a continued growth trend and create plenty of business for related companies/ sectors.Another key macroeconomic point is regarding the expectation of Oman's economy to grow by around five per cent along with an inflation rate of three per cent in 2012 in spite of the rising global food prices.Recommendation
We advise investors to restructure their positions and portfolios taking into consideration upcoming results announcements and analyst expectations in this regard. We remain positive on third quarter results especially with regard to the banking and services sectors.


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