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Thursday, 20 February 2014

MIDEAST STOCKS-Kuwait hits 4-wk low on fear of trading suspensions; other mkts firm | Reuters

MIDEAST STOCKS-Kuwait hits 4-wk low on fear of trading suspensions; other mkts firm | Reuters:

"* Kuwait companies have until end-February to report earnings

* Kuwait 15 index of top companies barely falls

* Dubai resumes rising but some funds flowing to Qatar

* Saudis shift to real estate shares from blue chips

* Egypt triggers massive double bottom

By Nadia Saleem

DUBAI, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Kuwait's bourse fell to a four-week low on Thursday as investors sold shares because of concern that shares of companies which have not yet reported earnings could be suspended from trading.

Most other markets in the region were firm.

Kuwait's main index slid 0.8 percent to its lowest level since Jan. 19, while daily trading volume was the lowest so far this year.

"People are worried that companies will not fulfil CMA's (the regulator) rules on results," said Fouad Darwish, head of brokerage services at Global Investment House."

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Sho Cho Copycat Case Highlights Gulf Trademark Challenge - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

Sho Cho Copycat Case Highlights Gulf Trademark Challenge - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:

"The owners of a popular Dubai-based restaurant called Sho Cho got a call recently from someone who’d spotted a new cafĂ© with the same name at a beachside dining and shopping area on the other side of town: Were they opening a new location?

They weren’t, and the ensuing dispute has added to a growing list of trademark conflicts in a region where lawyers say the enforcement of intellectual property rights is lacking. Last year, Facebook threatened to sue after a Dubai-based salon called “Facelook” opened, complete with a white-on-blue sign and the Facebook font. In 2012, an outlet mimicking the European clothing chain Primark opened in Dubai, touching off a dispute. 

Intellectual property is becoming increasingly important as the United Arab Emirates and other energy-rich Gulf countries spend billions of dollars on infrastructure development, private-sector growth and new foreign investment. The protection of brands and innovations is critical especially for attracting foreign capital, lawyers say, because investors need the assurance that their products can’t be stolen or duplicated by local competitors."

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Sliding ruble to drag Russian economy into recession — RT Business

Sliding ruble to drag Russian economy into recession — RT Business:

"Russia’s GDP growth turned negative in January, with the lowest investment since 2010. Analysts say uncertainty surrounding the ruble, which hit its all-time low against the euro on Wednesday, is weighing on the economy and could drag it into recession.

Russia’s GDP shrank during the first month of 2014, though so far there are no exact numbers, a source told the Vedomosti newspaper.

Inward investment slid 7 percent year on year in January, as real income was down 1.5 percent and wages grew the slowest since 2009, according to Wednesday's report by Russia’s statistics service Rosstat.

Retail growth also slowed to a four-year low at 2.4 percent.

The investment slump, slowdown in consumer demand and a real fall in personal income is all very alarming, said Alexander Morozov from HSBC."

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Guest post: possible knock-on effects of the Ukraine crisis | beyondbrics #EuroMaidan

Guest post: possible knock-on effects of the Ukraine crisis | beyondbrics:

"With the dramatic events in Kiev and beyond, investors are asking what contagion risks are likely from events unfolding in Ukraine to countries in the region, and perhaps global emerging markets.

On the issue of contagion to global EM, the total stock of Ukrainian eurobonds is only around $30bn or so (half the stock of foreign holdings in the Russian devaluation/default of 1998), or a small part of the EM bond stock, and overall investments in Ukraine are a similarly small part of the EM asset class. The asset class should hence be able to ride through a Ukrainian devaluation/default, albeit looking out for concentrated ownership patterns which might create some knock-on impacts in specific countries. That said, the worsening situation in Ukraine adds to the overall perception of heightened risks across EM with political instability now playing out in Ukraine, Turkey, Thailand, and Venezuela. It just adds to the negative mood music."

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Noor Bank tops 2013 Bloomberg EMEA Islamic Book Runner League table |

Noor Bank tops 2013 Bloomberg EMEA Islamic Book Runner League table |

"Noor Bank, previously known as Noor Islamic Bank, has topped the 2013 Bloomberg League Table rankings for Emea Islamic Syndicate Book Runner as well as Emea Islamic Syndicate Mandated Arranger. Strong deal flow, innovative sharia structuring combined with seamless execution and distribution capabilities enabled Noor to lead the Emea Islamic syndicate bookrunners league table in 2013 from fourth position on the Bloomberg rankings in 2012. During the year, Noor was mandated to arrange and bookrun more than 14 Islamic capital market issuances across various sectors and geographies valued at over $7 billion, further consolidating its status as the leading wholesale Islamic financial services provider in Middle East and beyond."

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GCC to benefit from US, Europe recovery |

GCC to benefit from US, Europe recovery |

"Gulf oil exporting countries will benefit from the economic recovery in the US and Europe while a potential decline in oil demand due to a slowdown in emerging markets will be largely offset by the positive developments in the Western economies and economic diversification in Gulf countries, according to economists and analysts.

“The developed markets are entering a phase of tightening of monetary policy cycle starting with the US tapering. We need to look at emerging markets in this new context. We have seen some dramatic changes in capital flows and currency depreciation in some of these markets since last summer. But this does not mean all emerging markets are going to experience a massive slump,” Jean-Michel Six, the Paris-based chief economist for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Standard & Poors told Gulf News in an interview.

While many emerging markets will experience turbulence of varying degrees in relation to their fundamental strengths and their dependence on foreign capital flows, Six said it is unrealistic to expect a slowdown in China’s growth (to about 7 per cent) will result in a massive decline in commodities demand particularly oil demand."

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Franklin Templeton Lifts Ukraine Bet by Over $250 Million - Bloomberg

Franklin Templeton Lifts Ukraine Bet by Over $250 Million - Bloomberg:

"Franklin Resources Inc. (BEN)’s biggest funds purchased Ukrainian bonds in the fourth quarter, adding to holdings that made the asset manager the country’s largest debtholder before growing violence spurred unprecedented losses.

The U.S. versions of the Templeton Global Bond Fund and the Templeton Global Total Return Fund (TGTRX), overseen by Michael Hasenstab, increased holdings of Ukrainian international dollar debt by $252 million in face value to about $3.8 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg through Dec. 31. Along with their European counterparts, the funds hold about $6.4 billion, more than a third of the country’s external dollar bonds, their most recent filings show.

Ukrainian securities suffered the worst selloff on record yesterday as concern the country is plunging into civil war escalated after clashes between police and anti-government activists killed at least 25 people. The yield on the government’s $1 billion of notes maturing in June increased 19 percentage points to 42 percent, an all-time high yesterday."

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BlackRock Cuts Dubai Holdings on Signs of ‘Speculative Excess’ - Bloomberg

BlackRock Cuts Dubai Holdings on Signs of ‘Speculative Excess’ - Bloomberg:

"BlackRock Frontiers Investment Trust Plc (BRFI), the $297 million frontier-market equity fund, said it “substantially reduced” holdings in the United Arab Emirates last month on concern about its soaring stock markets.

“While the U.A.E economy in general is performing well and Dubai is booming, we are increasingly concerned about the level of speculation in the market,” investment managers Sam Vecht and Emily Fletcher said in a regulatory filing.

Indexes in the U.A.E.’s two main markets of Dubai and Abu Dhabi were among the top three performers last year globally as the country’s real-estate and banking industries recovered. Dubai’s gauge more than doubled as Abu Dhabi’s rose 63 percent.

The combined daily average traded value on Dubai and Abu Dhabi bourses this year is more than $800 million, which compares with $74 million per day for both markets in the same period two years ago, according to data complied by Bloomberg. The surge is driven by retail investors and not by institutional investors, the fund said."

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Emerging-Market ETF Declines on IMF Amid Ukraine Unrest - Bloomberg

Emerging-Market ETF Declines on IMF Amid Ukraine Unrest - Bloomberg:

"The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index fell for a second day as the International Monetary Fund said risks of turmoil in developing nations threaten the global economy. Ukraine’s bonds plunged the most on record.

The exchange-traded fund dropped 0.7 percent to $39.02 at 4 p.m. in New York, while the MSCI Emerging Markets Index rose less than 0.1 percent to 959.09. Ukrainian bonds tumbled after as Poland warned its neighbor is on the brink of a civil war. Thailand’s baht capped the biggest two-day slide in two months after clashes between anti-government protesters and police in Bangkok killed four people and wounded at least 66. Russia’s dollar-denominated RTS Index drove losses in world stocks.

In a note prepared for central bankers and finance ministers from the Group of 20, the IMF said the recovery is still weak and “significant” risks remain. Capital outflows, higher interest rates, and sharp currency depreciation in emerging economies are a key concern, it said. Ukraine’s stocks and currency also sank after clashes in Kiev killed at least 25 people in the bloodiest episode of a three-month standoff."

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