MIDEAST STOCKS-Scrapped Americana sale weighs on Kuwait; other bourses mixed – Reuters

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* Volumes across Middle East dwindle as Ramadan approaches

* Dubai’s index edges up, lifted by blue chips

* Banking shares drag on Saudi bourse

* Egypt slips as regional investors cash out

By Celine Aswad

DUBAI, May 29 Shares in Kuwaiti companies linked
with the al-Kharafi family tumbled on Sunday after the
multi-billion-dollar sale of another Kharafi-controlled business
was scrapped, while other markets were mixed in thin trade.

Investment company Adeptio had agreed in February to buy 69
percent of Kuwait Food Co (Americana) from Al Khair
for Stocks and Real Estate, which is run by the wealthy Kharafi
merchant family. But Al Khair announced on Sunday that the sale
had been scrapped.

Americana’s shares were suspended, but other Kharafi-linked
stocks plunged.

National Industries Group and National Investment
Co slid 1.8 percent and 8.9 percent respectively,
while Al Mal Investment Co was down 8.5 percent and
Gulf Cable Co fell 3.7 percent. The Kharafis own
stakes in all four companies, Thomson Reuters data shows.

Kuwait’s index fell 0.1 percent to 5,393 points.

Elsewhere, Dubai’s index added 0.3 percent, with
main support from blue chips. Dubai Islamic Bank and
telecommunication operator du rose 2.9 percent and 1.1
percent respectively.

Dubai Parks and Resorts was the most-traded stock
on the bourse. It closed 1.4 percent lower after rising as much
as 4.2 percent in earlier trade. The company completed a 1.68
billion dirham ($457.44 million) rights issue last week.

Volumes, which were low on Sunday, have slumped since late
April in the runup to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which
starts in early June. But the weaker trend could yet be
disturbed, said Marwan Shurrab, director at Vision Investments
and Holding in Dubai.

Shurrab said speculation over a possible rise in U.S.
interest rates and a June referendum on whether Britain should
leave the European Union will contribute to volatility in Dubai
stocks ahead of Ramadan.

Saudi Arabia’s benchmark fell 0.8 percent, with
banking shares particularly weak. Banque Saudi Fransi
and National Commercial Bank slumped 4.0 and 2.2
percent respectively.

Stocks which had been advancing since the government
announced an economic plan in April to diversify the economy
away from its dependence on oil also fell, with miner Saudi
Mining Co (Ma’aden) dropping 2.1 percent, its third
session of declines.


Qatar’s stock index slipped 0.4 percent, erasing the
gains of the previous session. Shares which were strong last
week lagged on Sunday with oil drilling provider Gulf
International Services and telecom operator Vodafone
Qatar each falling more than 1.0 percent.

In Egypt, the main index slid 0.6 percent in the
lowest volumes in almost seven months, as regional investors
exited positions, bourse data showed.

Global Telecom Holding dropped 3.3 percent.

But peer operator Telecom Egypt outperformed the
market, and climbed 0.8 percent to 8.39 Egyptian pounds. On
Thursday Deutsche Bank raised its target price for the telecom
operator to 16.90 Egyptian pounds and maintained a buy rating on
the stock.



* The index fell 0.8 percent to 6,428 points.


* The index rose 0.3 percent to 3,360 points.


* The index edged up 0.3 percent to 4,297 points.


* The index lost 0.4 percent to 9,676 points.


* The index fell 0.6 percent to 7,486 points.


* The index dropped 0.1 percent to 5,393 points.


* The index fell 0.4 percent to 5,890 points.


* The index lost 0.6 percent to 1,092 points.

(Editing by Nerys Avery)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Scrapped Americana sale weighs on Kuwait; other bourses mixed – Reuters}