JEDDAH/DUBAI: Kuwait’s Agility rallied on Sunday after a US judge’s report favored the logistics firm, spurring investors to bet on a more positive outcome to a US fraud case that had sent its shares tumbling.
Most Middle East markets rose as upbeat world stocks boosted regional risk taking.
“Global markets over the weekend did well – this was reflected in Saudi Arabia yesterday (Saturday) and so it was natural to see other Arab markets do well today (Sunday),” said Haissam Arabi, chief executive at Gulfmena Alternative Investments.
Agility rose 5.6 percent to its highest close since Aug. 15. On Friday, a US judge said prosecutors had failed to follow the correct process when indicting Agility on fraud charges.
This ruling is unlikely to dissuade the US government from pursuing its overall case, with Agility’s shares down 56 percent since charges were brought in November.
Other firms in Sultan group, a major Agility stakeholder, also rose. Sultan Center Food Products climbed 5.4 percent and National Real Estate Co. added 6 percent.
The Kuwaiti index climbed 0.1 percent to 6,712 points.
Emaar Properties climbed 5.4 percent to 3.50 dirham, helping Dubai’s index rise 2.7 percent to 1,538 points on Sunday, its largest gain for 11 weeks.
“There was some short covering on Emaar and when the stock broke resistance at 3.40, it brought in more volumes,” added Arabi.
Other high volume stocks also prospered, with Dubai Financial Market rising 4.8 percent and Arabtec adding 4.2 percent. Dubai’s index is the worst performer in the Gulf region this year, falling 14.7 percent.
Dubai Islamic Bank climbed 3.7 percent and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank rose 2.9 percent, extending gains for a second session since Goldman Sachs upgraded both UAE lenders.
Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (Maaden) rose 2 percent to a four-month high of SR20.75, taking its gains to 22 percent since July 7, when it said a phosphate mine would open in the fourth quarter, earlier than expected.
“Maaden is a stock that should be on everyone’s watch list – it’s probably the most compelling story in the region in both the short and long term,” said a Riyadh-based trader who asked not to be identified.
“The start of operations at its plant will be a big catalyst and interest in the stock will increase as this nears. We see the mid-20s as a medium term target for the stock.”
Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) fell 0.09 percent to 6,269.36 points, easing from Saturday’s four-week high, as some investors closed positions ahead of a week-long religious holiday, starting Tuesday.
The sector activity for the day was mixed with 7 gaining sectors and 8 losing sectors. The gains for the day from 0.13 percent by the Hotel & Tourism sector to 1.13 percent by the Industrial Investment sector. On the other hand the losses ranged from 0.06 percent by the Retail sector to 0.92 percent by the Multi-Investment sector. The overall market breadth for the day was negative with 52 advancers against 62 decliners giving it an AD ratio of 0.83, the Financial Transaction House (FTH) said in its daily market commentary.
Industries Qatar rose 5 percent to a 16-week high as Doha’s benchmark reached a similar milestone.
“Qatar has a lot of good elements to its economy, but it was overlooked for a little while and international cash is slowing returning to the region, with Qatar and Saudi Arabia the main beneficiaries,” said Matthew Wakeman, EFG-Hermes managing director for cash and equity-linked trading.
The Qatari index rose 2.3 percent to 7,471 points.