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Thursday, 24 March 2011

MENA stock markets close _ March 24, 2011

ExchangeStatus IndexChange
TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
QE (Qatar Exchange)
LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)

Egyptian stocks: out of danger? | beyondbrics –

Egyptian stocks recovered slightly on Thursday, their second day of trading following the market’s temporary closure from January 27.

The day’s performance will have brought relief to investors in the country and looks likely to reduce further the threat of Egypt’s expulsion from the benchmark MSCI Emerging Market Index.

The day started badly: as happened on Wednesday, circuit breakers came into effect in early trading as stock prices plunged. But when trading resumed after a 30 minute break, prices recovered some of their losses.

Bond rout in Turkey could worsen as foreigners flee - Hurriyet Daily

The biggest tumble in Turkish bonds since October 2009 will deepen, sending yields to 10-month highs, as tighter monetary policy spurs foreign investors to cut holdings from record levels, according to Societe Generale.

Overseas investments in Turkish debt reached an all-time high of $37.9 billion on March 11, the last day data from the central bank were available. Money managers bought bonds even as they reduced stock investments to $55 billion from a peak of $74 billion in November.

“There’s a disconnect because the correction has occurred on the equity side but not in bonds,” Benoit Anne, the head of global emerging-market strategy at SocGen in London, said in an interview Tuesday. “We’re probably going to see a reduction of exposure to the bonds. It’s been a very slow response by long-term investors.”

Egypt stock market resumes decline after reopening - Maktoob News

Egypt's benchmark stock index fell for the second consecutive day on Thursday, sliding over 4 percent but paring steeper losses earlier in the session as investors looked to unload holdings after the market's nearly two month closure.

The Egyptian Exchange's benchmark EGX30 index plunged 8.9 percent on Wednesday, its first day of trading since it was shuttered on Jan. 27 amid mounting mass protests that eventually ousted former President Hosni Mubarak. Prior to its January closure, the market lost over 16 percent in two consecutive trading days, reflecting investor fears about the descent into apparent chaos of a country once viewed as the most stable in the Arab world.

The index was down around 4 percent at around 1:10 p.m. Cairo time on Thursday, to 4,934 points. It rebounded from earlier losses of over 6.7 percent that led to a 30-minute suspension of trading just minutes after the opening bell. The broader EGX100 index moved to the black, gaining 0.15 percent after losses of over 5 percent earlier in the day, according to the exchange's Web site.

PROFILE-Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said 00:40 Hours ago


Position: Sultan

Incumbent: Qaboos bin Said

Date of Birth: November 18, 1940

Term: Monarchy, in position since July 1970

Key Facts:

-- He became Sultan in July 1970 after deposing his father in a palace coup with the aim of ending the country's isolation and using its oil revenue for modernisation and development.

-- Sultan Qaboos exercises absolute power in a country where political parties are banned.

-- Oman has been ruled by the al-Said family since 1744 and has longstanding military and political ties with the United States and Britain, although it maintains an independent foreign policy.

-- Qaboos appoints cabinet members and in 1992 he allowed the creation of a quasi-parliament, the Shura Council, whose 84 members are elected by constituents in 61 districts. But the assembly only advises and has no legislative powers.

-- There is concern in the population about succession in the country, as there is no heir apparent or any clear legislation on who may be the next Sultan.

-- He is looking to redirect subsidies without weakening the living standards of low and middle-income earners.

-- Protesters have complained about corrupt ministers, high unemployment and the lack of a parliament with legislative powers. About 70 percent of the population are Omani nationals.

-- The Sultan attended the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, England.

WAM | Abu Dhabi notches up across-the-board double digit growth in February

Abu Dhabi achieved double-digit growth across its key tourism performance indicators during February, compared to the same month last year, according to figures released by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA).

During February the number of guests staying in the emirate's hotel and hotel apartments rose 17 per cent to 175,309; guest nights increased 29 per cent to 524,594; occupancy levels lifted 16 per cent to 77 per cent ; revenue climbed 24 per cent to AED 440 million (US $120.5 million) and length of stay expanded 10 per cent to 2.99 nights.

"February puts us on an early track towards achieving our 2011 target with double-digit growth also now showing for the combined first two months of this year compared to last," said Lawrence Franklin, Strategy '&' Policy Director, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA).

National Bank of Kuwait delays expansion, Kuwait Industries - Maktoob News

National Bank of Kuwait, the country's biggest lender, is delaying expansion plans due to regional unrest, its top official said on Thursday.

Chief Executive Ibrahim Dabdoub also said he expects flat profits in 2011.

Political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa, including protests in Kuwait, has raised risk premiums and sent many investors to the sidelines.

MSCI says monitoring Egypt stock exchange access | Reuters

Index provider MSCI said on Thursday it would consult with investors on the function and accessibility of the Egyptian stock exchange after its re-opening following more than seven weeks of closure.

The stock exchange closed on Jan 28 amid mass protests that eventually toppled the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak but opened on Wednesday to narrowly avert the 40-day suspension limit that would lead to expulsion from MSCI's closely followed emerging markets index.

"MSCI will monitor the future developments on the Egyptian Exchange and continue interacting with market participants to gather feedback on the functioning and accessibility of the Egyptian stock market," the index provider said in a statement.

Qatari royals sign on for British horse racing deal - Sport -

QIPCO, a private investment firm owned by members of Qatar’s Royal Family, has signed a multimillion-pound title sponsorship deal with the 35-event British Champions Series (BCS).

The two-year deal gives QIPCO exclusive naming rights for the series and full partnership rights for the new British Champions Day race at Ascot, the firms said in a joint statement Wednesday.

With a purse of £3m ($4.9m), the race marks the richest event staged in British racing history.

Dubai World Signs Restructuring Deal With Creditors on $25 Billion of Debt (Official confirmation) - Bloomberg

Dubai World, the state-owned holding company that sought to alter the terms on about $25 billion of debt, signed a final deal with creditors, marking the end of a restructuring that roiled global markets in 2009.

Nakheel PJSC, the developer of palm-shaped islands off Dubai’s coast, separately said it expects to reach an agreement with its trade and bank creditors on restructuring $10.5 billion of debt in the first half of the year. Restructuring agreements will be issued shortly to trade creditors and the final term sheet to its bank coordination committee, Nakheel said in an e- mail today.

The Dubai World agreement included about 80 creditors, the Dubai government’s media office said in an e-mailed statement today. Dubai World’s asset value has risen in the past few months because of the recovery in global markets, it said.

Kuwait's KFH to run $901m fund in KIA property plan - Funds -

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) will manage a $902m fund, as part of the Kuwait Investment Authority's $3.6bn real estate investment project, the Islamic lender said on Thursday.

Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund said on Wednesday it will invest $3.6bn in the local commercial property market, in a liquidity boost to the sector that will help lift plunging prices.

"The five year portfolio will focus on business real estate, as it has been most effected by current economic conditions and therefore is a candidate for achieving better returns," KFH assistant director general Imad Abdullah Al Thaqib said in a statement.

Abu Dhabi's Mubadala 2010 loss 315 million dirhams, UAE Industries - Maktoob News

Abu Dhabi government's investment vehicle Mubadala posted a comprehensive loss of 315 million dirhams in 2010 due to mark to market writedowns, it said on Thursday.

Mubadala, which holds stakes in Advanced Micro Devices Inc and Ferrari, as well as General Electric and private equity firm Carlyle, said total assets increased by 14 percent to 101.5 billion dirhams in 2010.

Revenue rose 22 percent year-on-year to 16 billion dirhams.

gulfnews : UAE economy poised to grow over 3% this year

The UAE economy is estimated to grow more than 3 per cent this year and it is hoped that it will reach a sustainable annual growth of 5 per cent after that, a senior official of the UAE Central Bank said here yesterday.

"The country is again in recovery mode, with econ-omic growth reaching 2.5 per cent in 2010," said Nariman Abdullah Kamber Al Awadi, chief manager at the Central Bank's training and development unit. Al Awadi was speaking at a seminar organised by the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR).

Al Awadi said inflation in the UAE was at a low 1.7 per cent last year, but is estimated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to increase to 3.9 per cent this year.

gulfnews : Deyaar Results Deyaar plunges into Dh2.3b loss

Deyaar Development PJSC, a Dubai-based developer, reported a net loss of Dh2.3 billion last year, compared to 2009, citing write down on the value of select assets and investments.

"Despite these write-downs and impairment provisions, Deyaar's book value per share stood at Dh0.763 as of December 31, 2010," the company said in a statement.

In 2010, Deyaar focused on strengthening its core operations, while also maintaining a conservative approach towards enhanced impairment provisions. This prudence in financial reporting positions the company to enter 2011 with a healthier balance sheet and a greater ability to respond to evolving market conditions, the company said.

Central Bank acts on Libya - The National

Regulators will report back to the UN within days whether any Libyan assets have been frozen within the UAE's financial system, a Central Bank official says.

Authorities around the world are taking action to freeze accounts and investments connected to the Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi as pressure on his regime mounts. Banks are sending responses to the Central Bank about whether any names on the UN Security Council sanctions list hold assets with them, said Mohamed el Shirief, the suspicious transactions and reports analyst at the Central Bank.

His comment follows a circular from the regulator to lenders last week about the issue. The international community voted last month to freeze the foreign assets of Col Qaddafi and four aides in an attempt to stop attacks on Libyan protesters.

Rebels set up oil company and bank - The National

Libyan rebels are setting up an alternative national oil company and a central bank to replace the established institutions controlled by the regime of the country's embattled president Muammar Qaddafi.

The Transitional National Council, representing anti-government rebels based in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, decided at a meeting on Friday to establish the "Libyan Oil Company as supervisory authority on oil production and policies in the country, based temporarily in Benghazi".

The council has also "designated the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya".

Egypt bourse bans 45 firms - The National

Almost half of the top companies listed on the Egyptian stock exchange were banned from trading yesterday as the market was forced seconds after the opening bell to suspend activity for half an hour.

The country's biggest publicly traded steel producer, Ezz Steel, was among the companies banned from trading for failing to meet disclosure requirements on whether they have assets or shareholders under investigation, an Egyptian Exchange official said.

A total of 45 companies from the top 100 listed were suspended from trading as foreign investors sold about 342 million Egyptian pounds (Dh210.3m) of shares in the first day of trading in almost two months. Institutional investors accounted for 97 per cent of trading.

Qatar to boost 2011/12 spending, no bond plans-fin min | Reuters

Qatar will boost its government budget for the new fiscal year 2011/12 but has no immediate plans to issue sovereign bonds, the Gulf Arab state's finance minister said on Wednesday.

The world's top liquefied natural gas exporter, which has so far escaped unrest sweeping through the Arab world, had raised spending by 25 percent in the current fiscal year, helped by robust oil prices and gas output expansion.

"Next week, we will announce the budget. It is bigger than last year's," Youssef Kamal told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of Gulf policymakers in Doha.

UAE mulls more investment in African countries

The UAE investment in Africa is expected to increase significantly in coming years in developing its key sectors, UAE Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri said.

“The UAE is particularly interested in developing African countries in tourism, infrastructure, oil, gas, mining, energy, transport, logistics, ports, IT and mobile communications sectors,” Mansoori said in his opening remarks on the first day of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, or COMESA, Investment Forum.

COMESA is one of Africa’s most important and influential investment forum, which opened on Wednesday in Dubai. The forum is being organised by Dubai Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with COMESA RIA.

Dubai World to mull sale of DPW stake - The National

Dubai World would consider selling some of its shareholding in DP World (DPW) if the planned listing of the ports group in London is successful, a DPW executive said yesterday.

The news came as Dubai World announced it had completed a major part of its US$24.9 billion (Dh91.45bn) restructuring after the formal signing of agreements with its financial creditors for $14.7bn of debt. The debt will be repaid in two tranches - $4.4bn over five years and $10.3bn over eight years.

Yuvraj Narayan, DPW's chief financial officer, confirmed the company's commitment to a London listing and said: "I would imagine if the valuation becomes more attractive and there is more liquidity, they [Dubai World] may well consider selling down some of their shares sometime in the future."

Egypt and the MSCI: a patriotic reprieve? | beyondbrics –

As widely predicted, circuit breakers were triggered within moments of the resumption of trading on the Cairo stock exchange on Wednesday. As beyondbrics reported on Tuesday, any sustained interruption could result in Egyptian stocks being expelled from the benchmark MSCIEmerging Market Index.

But things didn’t go as badly as they might have. By the close, the 100 share index was down 8.95 per cent – bad, but not a bloodbath. Crucially, circuit breakers were only triggered the once. If trading continues like this over coming days, Cairo could win a reprieve. And it might owe its salvation to a surge of popular patriotism.

There is little empirical evidence for this so far, but the anecdotal evidence is strong. There was a massive public relations campaign in Egypt to support the stock market’s re-opening including this appeal from Essam Sharaf, interim prime minister.