Dubai Shares Drop on Restrictions, Kuwait Banks Rise: Inside EM

Dubai’s main equities index led losses in the Gulf after the city imposed fresh restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Banks in Kuwait advanced on potential resumption of dividend.

The DFM General Index fell as much as 1.6% on Sunday before trimming the losses to 0.7% at close. The benchmarks in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar also finished lower, while the main gauge in Kuwait rose the most in the region.

Dubai Shares Drop on Restrictions, Kuwait Banks Rise: Inside EM

Stocks in Dubai have risen the past few weeks on prospects for tourism and as a vaccination program in the United Arab Emirates picked up. But the emirate over the weekend announced that attendance at weddings, social events and private parties will be restricted to 10 people. Last week, it ordered hotels and restaurants to halt entertainment activities.

In Kuwait, lenders including National Bank of Kuwait, Kuwait Finance House and Gulf Bank advanced after the central bank allowed lenders to distribute cash profit based on their 2020 financial results.

HIGHLIGHTS:
  • The MSCI Emerging Markets Index gained 2.6% last week, the fourth consecutive weekly increase
  • MORE: Lockdown Risk Comes to Fore as Emerging Stock Rally Loses Steam

MIDDLE EASTERN MARKETS:

  • Dubai’s DFM index trimmed gains this year to 9%
    • Emaar Properties -2%, Air Arabia -3.7%, Damac Properties -1.4%, Emaar Malls -1%, Emirates NBD -0.4%
  • Kuwait’s Premier Market Index climbs 0.6%
    • The “reassuring news” from the central bank is seen boosting confidence and leading to gains in the banking index in the near term, said Junaid Ansari, vice president of investment strategy and research at Kamco Investment Co.
      • “We believe that dividends for 2020 are already factored in the current share prices of Kuwaiti banks, although the level of dividends would be critical for shareholders”
      • “With 2020 profits expected to be much lower than 2019, we expect this to reflect in dividend announcements”
    • In 2020, restrictions were imposed “if the banks dip into the liquidity and capital relaxations provided by the central bank,” said Jaap Meijer, head of equity research at Arqaam Capital
      • If the lenders do not use any of the support, “then they would have been able to pay dividends”
      • “Qatari banks have also been able to distribute dividends, even though pay-outs have been moderated”
  • Equities gauges in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain rise less than 0.1%, while those in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Egypt and Israel fall as much as 1.1%

EARNINGS RELEASES:

  • Almarai (ALMARAI AB) FY Profit 1.98b Riyals, +9.5% Y/y; Est. 2.04b
  • Saudi Telecom (STC AB) FY Profit 11.09b Riyals, +3.9% Y/y; Est. 11.01b
  • Sabic Agri-Nutrients (SAFCO AB) FY Profit 1.29b Riyals, -12% Y/y; Est. 1.38b
  • Saudi Kayan (KAYAN AB) FY Loss 784.7m Riyals, +23% Y/y; Est. Loss 833.1m
  • Herfy Food (HERFY AB) FY Profit 53.6m Riyals, -73% Y/y; Est. 75.8m

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.