MUSCAT: Notwithstanding a roller coaster trade, the Muscat Securities Market ended the week on a positive note while closing on Thursday, last. Although the trading volume was dull, the benchmark MSM 30 Index reached 6,360.25 points with a gain of 0.15 per cent. A total of 8.918 million shares were traded during the day amounting to an aggregate turnover of RO 2.703 million. The MSM Shariah Index closed at 968.31 points, up by 0.57 per cent. Al Anwar Holding was the most active in terms of volume while Ooredoo was the most active in terms of turnover.
The market capitalisation stood at RO 6.869 billion on Thursday. Of the 48 traded securities, 11 advanced, 13 declined and 24 remained unchanged. Omani investors ended the day as net buyers to an extent of RO 270,000 while foreign and GCC investors emerged as net sellers to an extent of RO 202,000 and RO 34,000, respectively.
With the panic in the oil prices mellowing down, analysts see a positive shift in the outlook of the market. Brent crude made a rebound in recent days to 2015 highs near $65 a barrel, and some analysts are now talking of substantial further gains.
“Oil prices do have a big say on the share markets in the Middle East. But the recent months have shown that the Gulf economies are more resilient to cheap oil than some economists had feared”, said an analyst with a leading brokerage firm.
They have fiscal reserves to continue with heavy state spending, while private sectors take benefit of it and grow healthily, he says.
“The earning fortunes of the companies manifest this. Most companies have positive results”, he adds.
Also last week the MSM Index got a boost from the approval for the merger plans of Ominvest and ONIC. Shares both the companies made substantial gains last week.
Financial Index ended the week on a negative note at 7,862.96 points, down by 0.33 per cent. Gulf Investment Services, Oman United Insurance and Bank Muscat increased 1.99 per cent, 1.89 per cent and 0.75 per cent respectively.
Industrial Index advanced 0.58 per cent to close at 8,344.88 points. Voltamp Energy, Oman Cables, Oman Cement, Oman Fisheries and Al Anwar Ceramic increased 2.94 per cent, 2.56 per cent, 2.04 per cent, 1.67 per cent and 1.01 per cent respectively. Al Jazeera Steel, down by 1.76 per cent, was the only sector loser.
Services Sector Index closed at 3,463.73 points, up by 0.13 per cent. Ooredoo and Al Maha Petroleum increased 1.64 per cent and 0.45 per cent respectively. OIFC was the only loser down by 1.24 per cent.
In the region, Saudi Arabia received shot in the arm with the proposed opening of its $500 billion-plus stock market to foreign investors.
The opening will help to reduce high volatility in prices and improve transparency, disclosure and corporate governance.
The Qatar Stock Exchange surpassed the 12,000 mark during the week with reports suggesting that oil hit a four-month peak as Saudi Arabia resumed strikes in Yemen.
Egypt’s index rose 1.2 per cent, building on Wednesday’s 0.6 per cent gain, which followed five sessions of declines.
SOURCE: OMAN DAILY OBSERVER