Oman soars to 3-week high on pension funds
Dubai, August 28, 2011
Oman's index climbed to a three-week high on Sunday, as local pension fund buying boosted the battered market, while other regional markets also rose amid muted trading ahead of the extended Eid Al Fitr holidays.
The Sultanate's index ended 2.1 per cent up, its highest close since August 4, with most bluechip stocks advancing. The index has fallen 17 per cent year-to-date.
'We are seeing a lot of money coming in from local pension funds as well as some foreign investors,' said Adel Nasr, brokerage manager at United Securities in Muscat.
'Banks are particularly in demand and we see this sector being the best performer,' he added.
Top lender Bank Muscat climbed 3.1 per cent and smaller rival Bank Sohar surged 7.6 per cent.
Oman's regulator, Capital Market Authority, is encouraging consolidation of brokerages and expects at least three to four initial public offerings next year, an executive said last week.
Oil services firm Renaissance Services also jumped by 10 per cent in a sharp return following its slump. The stock had plummeted to a 2009-low after it discovered financial fraud at unit Topaz and reported a 77-per cent drop in first-half net profit.
'We are seeing a relief rally in Renaissance after investors see that the issues surrounding the firm will not result in a total loss for the company,' says Nasr.
Most other Gulf markets ended higher as regional investors were optimistic following Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech on Friday. Volumes, however, remained thin.
World stocks rose 1 percent and the dollar fell on Friday as Bernanke left the door open for future U.S. economic stimulus. He said the central bank's policy panel would meet for two days in September instead of one to discuss additional monetary stimulus, offering some hope to investors.
Oil prices also rose in choppy trade as Hurricane Irene targeted the U.S. East Coast and traders weighed Bernanke's comments.-Reuters