Kuwaiti shares edge up as investors pin hopes on new cabinet
The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) closed the week Wednesday, February 14, 0.6 percent up amid renewed investor optimism that a new cabinet would soon be formed that will help usher in long-awaited economic reforms, brokers said. The KSE index closed at 1,357.3 points, the first time this year that the index had crossed the psychological 1,350-point barrier, but still a staggering 52.1 percent down on its all-time high of November 1997.
The Kuwaiti cabinet resigned January 28 amid reports of differences between Premier Sheikh Saad Abdullah al-Sabah and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah. "A majority of traders are optimistic about the new cabinet, and are hopeful it will be more serious on economic reforms," Ahmad Mahmud of Al-Waseet Brokerage said.
The index progressed well in the first three days of the week, but lost six points in the final two days after the formation of the cabinet was delayed.
The value of average daily trading rose sharply to $36.6 million from last week's $21.5 million. "New funds have entered the market during the week because of both the optimism and the decision by the Central Bank to cut interest rates," Mahmud told AFP.
On January 14, the KSE index dropped to 1,318.2 points, its lowest level since November 1995, but has since recovered well on the back of positive annual results by commercial banks and major firms.
The emirate's bourse ended 2000 down 6.5 percent in a tumultuous 12 months of trading that saw investor confidence hit rock-bottom because of a lack of economic reforms, political uncertainty and parliament-government wrangling.
Some 87 companies are listed on the KSE. The bourse's capitalisation of more than $20 billion makes it the second largest in the Arab world after the NCFEI index in Saudi Arabia. —(AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)