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Monday, 25 April 2011

MIDEAST STOCKS-Most Gulf markets slip; property weighs on UAE | Reuters

Property stocks weighed on UAE bourses on Monday after bellwether Emaar Properties' (EMAR.DU) quarterly results fell short of analyst expectations, while Saudi Arabia was lifted to a three-month high by petrochemicals.

Emaar, the developer behind the world's tallest tower in Dubai, fell 2.9 percent after it said on Sunday that profit fell 45 percent due to losses from associate firms.

Dubai's index .DFMGI ended 1.6 percent lower, extending losses after Thursday's yearly high. Construction firm Arabtec (ARTC.DU) tumbled 4.6 percent in heavy trading.

MENA stock markets close - April 25, 2011

ExchangeStatus IndexChange
TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
6684.71.07%
DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
1638.23-1.62%
ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
2690.69-0.80%
KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
6465.60.33%
BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
1403.150.16%
MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
6325.26-0.34%
QE (Qatar Exchange)
8458.87-0.47%
LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
1399.90.58%
EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
4996.070.19%
ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
2211.010.05%
TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
4304.011.62%
CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
12011.80.46%
PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)
493.4-0.09%

MENA stock markets close - April 25, 2011

ExchangeStatus IndexChange
TASI (Saudi Stock Market)
6684.71.07%
DFM (Dubai Financial Market)
1638.23-1.62%
ADX (Abudhabi Securities Exchange)
2690.69-0.80%
KSE (Kuwait Stock Exchange)
6465.60.33%
BSE (Bahrain Stock Exchange)
1403.150.16%
MSM (Muscat Securities Market)
6325.26-0.34%
QE (Qatar Exchange)
8458.87-0.47%
LSE (Beirut Stock Exchange)
1399.90.58%
EGX 30 (Egypt Exchange)
4996.070.19%
ASE (Amman Stock Exchange)
2211.010.05%
TUNINDEX (Tunisia Stock Exchange)
4304.011.62%
CB (Casablanca Stock Exchange)
12011.80.46%
PSE (Palestine Securities Exchange)
493.4-0.09%

UAE traders plough into Aramex as courier stands apart on bourse - The National

Aramex was among the only stocks to end the day higher as a bout of profit taking on heavyweight property and banking stocks sent most other shares to new lows.

The Middle East's biggest courier company rose 1.6 per cent to Dh1.91 as traders diversified investment away from shares in companies including Emaar Properties. The developer of the world's largest tower, the Burj Khalifa, said net profit dropped 45 per cent in the first quarter as it handed over fewer new homes than a year earlier.

In the first day of trade since announcing the results, which missed analysts' expectations, its shares fell 2.9 per cent to Dh3.34.

Indebted Nakheel halts property sales in Dubai - ArabianBusiness.com

Nakheel, the Dubai developer restructuring $10.8bn in debt, has confirmed it is no longer selling real estate units in the emirate.

The state-backed company, which overstretched itself building islands in the shape of palms and other ambitious projects, said its focus is instead on offering swap options to existing investors.

“Nakheel has stopped selling properties currently, and is focusing on consolidations and swaps options,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Petrochems lift Saudi index to 3-month high - ArabianBusiness.com

Saudi Arabia's index TASI hit a three-month high, led by petrochemical stocks, with the market buoyed by higher oil prices in the absence of a local catalyst.

"Petrochemicals are currently the most favored by investors with heightened oil prices keeping the sector over a solid floor despite some stock specific profit taking activity," said Amro Halwani, a senior trader at Shuaa Capital in Riyadh.

The petrochemical index was up 1.1 percent, with Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co up 5.3 percent, the largest gainer. It rose for a third day since Credit Suisse upgraded it to "outperform" from "neutral."

NBQ loses $250m lawsuit - Emirates 24/7

Kuwait's Global Investment House won a Dubai court ruling to get back $250 million from Abu Dhabi-listed National Bank of Umm Al Qaiwain, in addition to interest, a company spokesman said.

"The interest will be about $50 million," Global's spokesman told Reuters on Monday after the ruling. Last year, Global won a ruling from a Dubai court, which NBQ later appealed.

The $250 million was a deposit placed by Global with NBQ in August 2008 for a National Bank convertible bond issue. Global later cancelled the planned purchase, and wanted the money back, but National Bank denied it was entitled to keep it.

Qatar Emir Visits Spain, May Sign Accords With Zapatatero, Cinco Dias Says - Bloomberg

The emir of Qatar today begins a state visit to Spain to reinforce political and economic relations between the countries in meetings that will likely produce several agreements, Cinco Dias reported.

Almost two months have elapsed since Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero travelled to the emirate and was promised that 3 billion euros ($4.4 billion) investments would be made in Spanish companies, with about 10 percent of that going to recapitalize savings banks, the newspaper said.

Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani and his wife, Sheikha Mozah Nasser bint Nasser, will be received by Spain’s King and Queen and tomorrow they meet Zapatero for lunch when it’s expected they will sign various accords, the newspaper said citing unidentified people in the Zapatero’s government.

Dubai Shares Retreat Most in One Month After Emaar Profit Misses Estimates - Bloomberg

Sohar Aluminium Company will proceed with its plan to double its present aluminium capacity of 370,000 tonnes per annum with an envisaged capital expenditure of $3 billion, if the government commits additional natural gas.

Addressing a visiting media delegation here yesterday, Henk Pauw, Chief Executive Officer of the company, said the Ministry of Oil and Gas will take a final decision before November this year on whether gas will be available for the proposed capacity expansion. "We are optimistic.

It is not up to us... but the government has to decide. We have presented a very strong case for creating jobs with downstream industries," he noted. "If we get natural gas, the expansion project will be completed within three years."

Oman's Sohar Aluminium plans to invest USD3b - Zawya

Sohar Aluminium Company will proceed with its plan to double its present aluminium capacity of 370,000 tonnes per annum with an envisaged capital expenditure of $3 billion, if the government commits additional natural gas.

Addressing a visiting media delegation here yesterday, Henk Pauw, Chief Executive Officer of the company, said the Ministry of Oil and Gas will take a final decision before November this year on whether gas will be available for the proposed capacity expansion. "We are optimistic.

It is not up to us... but the government has to decide. We have presented a very strong case for creating jobs with downstream industries," he noted. "If we get natural gas, the expansion project will be completed within three years."

Dubai telco du Q1 net profit doubles; beats forecasts | Reuters

UAE telecom operator du said its first-quarter net profit more than doubled, beating analysts forecasts, after the company added more customers during the quarter and continued to invest in infrastructure.

The firm, which now has an estimated 40 percent share of the UAE mobile market, reported a first-quarter net profit of 205.8 million dirhams ($56.03 million) after providing for royalties, up from 97.1 million dirhams in the year-earlier period, it said on Monday.

Analysts polled by Reuters on average had expected the firm to post a quarterly net profit of 203.7 million dirhams for the first-quarter.

Oman Investment Fund likely to buy 5% in UCX - The Economic Times

Oman Investment Fund (OIF), a sovereign wealth fund (SWF) owned by the Omani government, may buy close to 5% in upcoming Universal Commodity Exchange (UCX), making it the first investment by an SWF in a local commodity bourse and reflecting the growing interest of foreign investors in India's nascent commodity futures market.

The deal, if completed, will value the yet-to-be-launched UCX at Rs 400-500 crore, around 30% lower than that of NCDEX, India's second-largest commodity exchange (commex), promoted by Delhi-based broker Jaypee Capital Services and leading sugar refiner Shree Renuka Sugars .

"OIF has completed the due diligence process and will bring the money in shortly," said a person with knowledge of the development. "There seemed to have been some differences over valuation but these have been sorted out with each UCX share likely to change hands at a premium of Rs 30-40 to the face value of Rs 10, or Rs 20-25 crore," he added.

45% fall in Emaar Q1 profits underlines challenges ahead « ArabianMoney

Emaar Properties, the largest developer in the Arab world, reported a 45 per cent fall in profits in the first quarter to $115 million on revenues down from $785 million to $540 million, underlining the challenges that remain in its local and regional markets.

First quarter results included some revenues from the handover of offices in Syria, a country where popular unrest is now destablizing business activity. The group also has a large project in Cairo where the government was overthrown in a revolution last month.

FT.com - The economics of the Arab spring

The plight of Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian fruit vendor who found that official harassment made his job impossible, may seem a mundane trigger for the historic Arab awakening. In fact, Mr Bouazizi’s self-immolation and the protests it unleashed prove that Arabs’ political and economic grievances are two sides of the same coin, and that democratisation in the Arab world must be both economic and political for either to succeed.

The Arab countries vary greatly in their politics – their degree of authoritarianism and prospects for change – and in their economic structure. But they all need reform and, with few exceptions, they all suffer a similar economic ailment.

The fundamental dysfunction of Arab countries is that of the rentier state. In oil- and gas-rich countries, natural resources return far more than it costs to extract them. Capturing and controlling this surplus – economic rent – is the chief source of enrichment, hence both the means and the end of power. Meanwhile the tragedy of resource-poor Arab countries is that they create rent artificially when nature has given them none. Monopolies, regulation and bullying all serve to limit access to productive activity, which generates fantastic rewards for a favoured few at the cost of holding back whole nations.

gulfnews : Future of oil refining bright but costly

Last week I discussed the impact of the economic recovery and oil prices on the number of active projects, those under engineering or construction, in the hydrocarbon industry and the expected almost $220-billion (Dh807 billion) expenditure in 2011.

In this regard the oil refining segment is the biggest spender in 2011 likely to see a capital expenditure close to $25 billion as the number of active projects has risen from 1,564 in June 2008 to 1,751 in June 2010.

The highest number of active refining projects, especially large scale ones, are believed to be in Asia and the Middle East due to the expected economic and population growth and the associated rising demand for oil products.

gulfnews : Islamic finance could lead banks' recovery

Islamic finance is gradually building momentum across the world and will likely lead the re-emergence of the global financial industry from the recent crisis. However, the industry needs a level playing field to achieve its potential, said Richard Thomas, Chief Executive of London-based Gatehouse Bank, in a recent interview with Gulf News.

"Over the years, the conventional banking industry has been underpricing risk through excessively cheap debt. At such low levels of pricing it was impossible to compete with conventional banks," Thomas said.

He believes that competition has to be fair in the context of pricing and taxation. In the past, taxation rules in most developed markets favoured financing through debt compared to equity, but in the aftermath of the financial crisis that exposed the weaknesses of excessive leverage there is a move to create a level playing field for equity funding and asset-backed financing which lies at the core of Islamic finance.

Central Bank's new rules backed by UAE lenders - The National

The UAE Central Bank says lenders have been receptive to new retail rules designed to curb high service fees and excessive lending.

Banks will have to start complying with the changed retail lending system when it becomes law from May 1.

"Banks have been broadly supportive," said a Central Bank spokesman, who asked to remain anonymous.

Full: Consolidation comes first - The National

Loan growth and bad loans are the key words as the banking sector continues on the road to recovery. For now, damage limitation will suffice, with setbacks kept in check and better times ahead, Asa Fitch reports

Banks in the UAE face another tough year, despite faster loan growth and progress in putting the pain of past defaults behind them.

Only one of the country's big banks, National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), has reported its first-quarter results so far. Last week, the lender revealed a 10 per cent decline in profits compared with the same period last year.

Saudi Arabia to Keep Oil Production Capacity at 12.5 Million Barrels a Day - Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia, holder of the world’s largest crude oil reserves, has no plans to raise production capacity beyond 12.5 million barrels a day, a Saudi Arabian oil official said.

Reports that the country may boost its output capacity to 15 million barrels a day aren’t true, the official said by telephone today, declining to be identified by name because he isn’t authorized to speak publicly.

Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, a trade publication, reported on April 22 that the kingdom is considering raising capacity to 15 million barrels a day, without citing anyone. Saudi Arabia’s OPEC Governor Majid al-Moneef said in a report on April 18 that the country will keep capacity at 12.5 million barrels a day for the next two decades.

MIDEAST STOCKS-QNB weighs after rights issue; Emaar falls | News by Country | Reuters

A sell-off in Qatar National Bank (QNBK.QA: Quote) (QNB) on Sunday after the company announced a rights issue dragged Qatar's index to a three-week low, while UAE developer Emaar weighed on Dubai's benchmark.

QNB's share price fell up to 8.7 percent before retracing some of those losses. The stock is down 0.8 percent at 138.50.

Investors are cashing in on Thursday's gains, said Hani Girgis, assistant chief dealer at Dlala brokerage, adding that the shares would be released in two weeks, with a capital increase of 25 percent at 100 riyals per share.

Gulf Times – Kuwait Wataniya Q1 profit soars to $1bn

Kuwait’s National Mobile Telecoms Co (Wataniya) yesterday said its first quarter net profit soared to 285.1mn Kuwaiti dinars ($1.03bn), from KD16.2mn in the year ago period, as the company consolidated its increased investment in its Tunisian unit.

“Net profit for first quarter 2011 includes a fair value gain of KD265.5mn ($961.5mn) recorded due to revaluation of existing held interest in Tunisiana following the increase in the shareholding from 50% to 75%,” a company spokesperson told Zawya Dow Jones via e-mail.

Qatar Telecom (Qtel) and Tunisian investment firm Princesse Holding had said in November last year that they would pay Orascom Telecom $1.2bn for its 50% stake in its Tunisian unit. Qtel made the acquisition through Wataniya Telecom, of which it is the majority owner.

FT.com - Dubai seen as a refuge amid turbulence

Yaser Alamoodi, a Saudi Arabian public relations executive, had his plans to holiday in Dubai during this month’s school vacation thwarted because he could not get a seat on a flight.

The aircraft were packed as tourists from Riyadh swarmed to an emirate they saw as immune to the kind of uprising that made it too dicey to go to their normal haunts.

He explained: “People didn’t go to Lebanon and Syria because of the situation. Egypt was out of the question. Bahrain was out of the question. So everybody just ended up going to the emirates.”