Arab bourses cautious over Iran standoff, lack of moving factors

AMMAN - Arab stock markets lost further ground this week as the continuation of the dispute over the Iranian nuclear file and the lack of factors moving the markets negatively influenced decisions of investors, financial analysts said Friday.

By (DPA)

Published: Fri 15 Aug 2008, 9:09 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:53 AM

However, the drastic decline in stock prices over the past few weeks prompted a buying wave in the Kuwaiti and United Arab Emirates stock exchanges that gave the impression stock prices could be bottoming out, they added.

"I believe geopolitics and the absence of moving factors are giving rise to a spate of speculation that destabilizes markets and forces many investors to stay on the sidelines pending fresh developments," Wajdi Makhamreh, Chief Operating Officer at the Amman- based Sanabel International Holding, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

"However, the drastic fall of prices is set to correct the trend and ignite a rebound through waves of buying" similar to those which occurred on Thursday in Kuwait and and Abu Dhabi, he said.

The slide in oil prices could also have affected regional stock markets-particularly Saudi shares, he added.

Saudi stocks extended losses for the third week in a row this week amid low trading volumes.

The Tadawul All Share Index (TASI) of the Arab world's largest stock exchange shed 3.1 per cent this week, closing at 8,188.30 points, down from 8,451.06 points last week.

TASI is currently 25.8 per cent lower than the year's start, according to the weekly report of the Riyadh-based Bakheet Investment Group (BIG).

"The index has now accumulated losses of 900 points, or 10 per cent of its total value, since July 25 despite the attractive financial ratios of listed firms," the report said.

"The ongoing dispute between Iran and the West over Tehran's nuclear programme and the retreat in regional stock markets may have pushed investors to stay on the sidelines instead of taking advantage of falling prices," it added.

BIG expected the market to stabilize and trading volumes to increase starting next week "pushing up prices" especially as new Tadawul rules go into effect.

Jordanian shares fluctuated dramatically for the third consecutive week led by mining and Jordan Petroleum Refinery stocks.

The all-share price index of the Amman Stock Exchange fell 0.74 per cent this week, closing at 4,434 points from 4,467 points last week, according to the ASE weekly report.

Kuwaiti stocks also rebounded on Thursday prompting analysts to speculate that the downward trend could be over.

The KSE all-share price index shed 1.4 per cent, to close week at 14,616 points compared with last week's close at 14,828 points.

The benchmark price of the UAE stock exchanges of Dubai and Abu Dhabi plunged further 4.7 per cent this week, closing at 5,531 points down from 5,802 points last week.

Egypt's CASE 30 index, which measures the performance of the market's 30 most active stocks, gained 4.75 per cent on Thursday to close week at 8,223 points.

Analysts attributed the rebound which followed weeks of declines to an intensive demand on leading Egyptian stocks by foreign funds.

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