Gulf stocks mostly rises in early trade, Kuwait continues bull run

Big 5

Gulf stock markets mostly surged at Monday early trade with Kuwait continuing a bull run that has made it by far the region’s best-performing bourse this year.

The Kuwaiti index, which rose 15.6 percent between the end of last year and Sunday, added a further 1.1 percent on Monday morning. Trading volume looked set to surpass Sunday’s very high level and hit a new 43-month high.

The country’s biggest bank, National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) , climbed 1.5 percent and logistics giant Agility surged 4.4 percent.

The Kuwait market is not cheap. NBK is trading at a trailing price-earnings ratio of above 14 times, for example, compared to below 12 times for Qatar National Bank and below 10 times for Abu Dhabi’s First Gulf Bank, Thomson Reuters data shows.

But fund managers said the volume of money pouring into the Kuwaiti market because of its momentum suggested the bull run might continue for a while.

Saudi Arabia’s index added 0.8 percent. Builder Khodari, which jumped 9.1 percent on Sunday on hopes for a recovery in the Saudi construction sector after the government began paying overdue debts to companies, rose a further 2.6 percent.

Banks rebounded after dropping earlier this week on disappointing fourth-quarter earnings. Saudi British Bank rose 3.3 percent after falling 1.6 percent on Sunday.

In Dubai, the index edged up 0.1 percent as Dubai Islamic Bank climbed 1.3 percent. Qatar also gained 0.1 percent as Doha Bank rose 2.2 percent.

The bank reported an 84.8 percent decline in fourth-quarter net profit to 35 million riyals ($9.6 million). Three analysts polled by Reuters had forecast on average the bank would make a quarterly net profit of 215.58 million riyals.

But Doha Bank also said its board was recommending a cash dividend of 3 riyals per share for 2016, the same level as in 2015.

Source: Reuters

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