Most GCC bourses recover lost ground

March 20, 2013 - 3:47:31 am

DUBAI: Most Gulf markets rose yesterday as bargain hunters returned following a sell-off a day earlier, while Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) helped lift Egypt’s bourse on hopes a tax dispute involving the company could soon be resolved.

Earlier this month, the public prosecutor barred OCI’s chief executive Nassef Sawiris from travelling abroad as part of an investigation into accusations the company evaded about EP14bn in taxes. The tax charges are a barrier to an offer by Dutch-subsidiary OCI NV to buy OCI. 

OCI has proposed to pay between EP5bn ($737.34m) and EP6bn to settle recent tax claims against it, according to a report in Al Mal newspaper. The firm declined to comment when approached by Reuters.   

“This is outright positive if confirmed as it would pave the way for the execution of the offer,” Mona el Shazly, analyst at Pharos Holding said in a note.       

OCI climbed 0.3 percent to 232 pounds. It slumped to a near-four-month intraday low on Monday.

Cairo’s benchmark rose 0.9 percent, rebounding from a 13-week low. 

In Saudi Arabia, the measure gained 0.3 percent, up for a fourth session in five, but it remains stuck in a narrow trading range due to a lack of positive catalysts.

“I don’t expect the market to have any sharp movements before we see corporate results,” said Hesham Tuffaha, a Riyadh-based fund manager. “There won’t be a shift in portfolios unless there is a surprise catalyst. All eyes are on Q1.” 

Petrochemical stocks supported gains, with the sector’s index adding 0.2 percent. 

In the UAE, bargain hunters increased their exposure to bluechips. Dubai bellwether Emaar Properties and telecom operator du rose 1.3 and 3.8 percent respectively. Dubai’s index climbed 1 percent to takes its 2013 gains to 17.8 percent. It fell 1.4 percent on Monday, with this dip seen as a much-needed correction to attract fresh buyers. 

Abu Dhabi’s benchmark advanced 0.6 percent, its seventh gain in eight sessions. 

Elsewhere, bluechips dragged Doha’s bourse from a three-week high as it fell 0.5 percent to 8,570 points. “It is an accumulation period right now and a breakout above 8,700 levels would give an upside momentum to Qatar,” said Musa Haddad, head of investment advisory services at National Bank of Abu Dhabi. 

“The market is trading above the 200-day moving average, which is bullish in the medium- to long-term. There is limited downside.”   

Industries Qatar shed 3 percent after reaching its ex-dividend date. 

Doha Bank halted a three-session rally, which had been driven by expectations the company would postpone plans to further raise its capital. Its shares slipped 0.6 percent from Monday’s four-week high. 

The company increased its capital earlier this month through a rights issue and also said the second part of its capital raising, a London global depository receipts offering, would follow the local portion. Reuters