Gulf markets seen mixed, Asia shares up
Dubai, December 23, 2009
Stock markets in the Gulf Arab region look set for a mixed open on Wednesday, with gains on Asian markets offsetting investor caution ahead of fourth quarter earnings season.
"Investors are generally calm, there is very low turnover," says Hesham Abo Jamee, head of asset management at Bakheet Investment Group in Riyadh.
"Everyone is anticipating Q4 results. We are expecting (Saudi) petrochemicals to do well, while banks' results will vary."
In Dubai, focus will still be on DFM's takeover bid for its local rival Nasdaq Dubai. "You are getting exactly what you want: consolidation, restructuring, and more transparency via a more developed regulatory and legal framework," says Akram Annous, deputy fund manager at Al Mal capital.
In Kuwait, uncertainty still looms over Agility's court case in the US with investors awaiting a hearing scheduled for the new year. The Kuwaiti logistics firm, whose US unit was dropped as a subcontractor in a US army deal this week, was indicted in November for allegedly overcharging the US army.
"We continue to be nervous on Agility," said a Kuwait-based trader who asked not to be identified. "Buying on banks will continue. However, for now, everybody is anticipating end of year closing," he added.
Trading in Gulf markets will likely remain subdued for the remainder of the year. "Most foreign institutional investors have started their Christmas festivities. We are now focusing on fourth quarter results," says Ray Bencheikh, assistant fund manager at Qatar National Bank.-Reuters