Regional markets remain wary despite Greek optimism

29 May 2012

Egyptian elections weigh on exchange

Indications that the majority of voters in Greece favour the conservatives who want the country to remain in the Eurozone have helped boost investor sentiment in the Middle East.

Market breadth on Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul, the largest bourse in the region improved greatly on 28 May as 129 out of the 151 companies on the Tadawul All-Shares Index (Tasi) closed on a high, helping the benchmark climb 0.96 per cent to reach 7,056.68 points.

“The regional market will be challenged in the second half of this year. The volatility of the oil price, the socio-political events across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region will affect the markets. But the most important factor is what happens in Europe that will decide whether it will be a risk on or risk off for the region,” says one analyst.

Qatar Telecom’s (Qtel) fully-subscribed rights issue raised QR6.8bn ($1.87bn) on 28 May. The capital will be used for general corporate purposes and to refinance existing debt. Qtel’s stock went up 0.78 per cent on 28 May to QR115.90 and the Qatar Exchange gauge closed 20 per cent higher at 8508.97 points.  Qtel’s competitor Vodafone Qatar began the week on 27 May 0.21 per cent higher reaching QR9.72 following an 11 per cent growth in the company’s subscriber base, but failed to maintain the momentum as it fell 4 per cent on 28 May to QR9.28.

The overall positive sentiment was not reflected in Egypt. The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) suffered losses at the start of the week as investors grow increasingly anxious over the Presidential elections, which has turned into a close race between Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq. The EGX 30 opened the week 3.49 per cent lower at 4,798.14 points and lost a further 1.25 per cent on 28 May to close at 4,738.10 points.

Egypt’s Orascom Telecom Holding fell 2.5 per cent on 28 May after an Algerian court confirmed fines of $1.25bn for breach of foreign exchange regulations for its operator in the country, Djezzy. A suspension on Djezzy’s chief executive officer however was lifted.

The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) Market Index opened the week on a low at 6,277.21 points on 27 May after Minister of Finance Mustapha Al-Shamali resigned on Thursday 24 May, following accusations of corruption and financial irregularities in his departments.

Iraq Stock Exchange is now encouraging companies to list their shares via global depository receipts on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) or the Nasdaq Stock Market in the US in a bid to attract more investors, increase volume and boost liquidity. Asiacell already has plans to list its GDRs on the LSE after it launches its initial public offering (IPO).

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