Jordanian Shares Slip, Bucking Gains Across Mideast: Inside EM

Stocks in Jordan snapped a three-day advance, bucking gains in most Middle East markets, after several arrests were made following what may have been an attempt to destabilize the government of King Abdullah II.

The Amman Stock Exchange General Index fell as much as 0.6% before trimming drop to end 0.2% lower Sunday. Cairo Amman Bank and Union Investment Corp. fell more than 1.6%, dragging the index down the most.

Over the weekend, Hasan Bin Zeid, a member of the Jordanian royal family, was held on security grounds along with several others, including a former minister. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt and other Arab states expressed support for the king.

Elsewhere in the region, benchmark indexes rose in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Kuwait as investors weighed the prospects of increased oil production. Last week, OPEC+ showed growing confidence in the global economic recovery by agreeing to boost oil production gradually in the coming months.

Saudi Arabia and its allies showed they are more convinced now that fuel demand is on a firmer footing after a yearlong beating from the coronavirus.

Investors should see “a very solid first quarter for Saudi petrochemicals,” Jaap Meijer, the head of equity research at Arqaam Capital, said in an interview to Bloomberg Television.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • MSCI Emerging Markets Index gained 2.4% last week, the biggest weekly gain in almost two months
  • EM REVIEW: Stocks Advance as Biden Plan Boosts Growth Outlook
  • MORE: World Economy Risks ‘Dangerously Diverging’ Even as Growth Booms

MIDDLE EASTERN MARKETS:

  • The Tadawul All Share Index gained 0.7%, extending an increase of 5.1% last week, the best weekly performance this year
    • Sabic +2.3%, Saudi Telecom +2.1%, Riyad Bank +1%
  • Saudi banks have been chasing retail share with mortgages in the spotlight, “but growth may slow as risk and stability become the focus, not earnings,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Edmond Christou writes in a note
    • READ: Saudi Banks May Focus on Risk, Stability After Mortgage Rush
  • S&P Global Ratings cut Morocco’s sovereign rating by one level to BB+ from BBB-, citing the country’s economic contraction and growing budget deficit
    • Oman’s rating affirmed at B+
  • MORE: HSBC Is Said to Work on Possible IPO of Saudi Arabian Cargo Firm

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