Israel Shares Drop Most in Region; Dubai Stocks Rally: Inside EM
Equities in Dubai advanced on Sunday amid optimism over a rebound in tourism, while the main index in Israel slumped. Saudi stocks gave up early gains, but are still on track to be the Middle East’s best performers in 2020.
Gauges in Dubai, Bahrain, Qatar and Egypt rose between 0.3% and 1%, while those in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Israel slipped. The volume of shares traded in all markets was below the 30-day average ahead of the holiday season. The main index in Riyadh gained as much as 0.6% before ending 0.3% lower.
Positive sentiment prevailed in the Gulf as OPEC+ said it will react faster to changes and take a more hands-on approach with the oil market by starting regular monthly meetings. More frequent conferences mean policy makers in oil-producing countries will drive the market, not speculators, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Saturday.
The Tadawul All Share Index is up about 4% in 2020, more than any other in the Gulf, despite a slump in the price of crude since the start of the pandemic. Saudi shares have been recovering amid optimism that vaccine rollouts will provide a long-awaited boost to oil demand. About 300,000 people have already registered to take the Covid-19 vaccine in the country.
Loose monetary policy in Saudi Arabia, high liquidity among investors, and companies taking steps to save cash to retain investors’ confidence helped boost the biggest stock market in the Middle East in 2020, according to Joice Mathew, head of equity research at United Securities in Muscat.
“After the initial hiccups and uncertainties related to low oil prices in April, investor sentiment was boosted in an unprecedented manner,” Mathew said. He added that a weaker dollar, stronger oil price and vaccine developments are “an excellent recipe for continuation of the investor confidence and momentum.”
MIDDLE EASTERN MARKETS:
- Israel’s TA-35 falls 1.6% as of 2:39 p.m. local time, leading losses in the region, dragged down by political woes
- Israel’s two largest political parties are making a last-ditch effort to avert a fourth election in two years, with a midnight Tuesday deadline looming
- Qatar’s QE Index advances 1%, extending gains for the year to 1.6%
- Read: IMF Sees Qatar’s Economy Return to Growth, Wider Deficit in 2021
- Dubai’s DFM General Index climbs 0.4%
- Damac Properties jumped as much as 14.4% after the company’s board said it will consider a potential acquisition at a meeting on Dec. 23. The company later said it may increase its shareholding in a project in London
- READ: Dubai Mall Operator Expects Vaccine Rollout to Boost Economy
- Bahrain-based investment bank Sico to buy 72.7% stake in Bank Muscat’s Saudi unit Muscat Capital, according to a statement
- Bank Muscat shares fall 1.5%
- More stories about Middle Eastern markets this year and the outolook for 2021:
- Dec. 20: Dubai Mall Operator Expects Vaccine Rollout to Boost Economy
- Dec. 17: Morgan Stanley, Nomura Say It’s Time to Bet on Dubai Tourism
- Dec. 16: Saudi Banks More Likely to Resume Payout in 2H20: Morgan Stanley
- Dec. 12: Saudi Exchange Sees Strong IPO Pipeline, Cross-Listings in 2021
- Dec 2: Life After Aramco Includes Plenty More IPOs for Saudi Arabia
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