Kuwaiti shares index dips amid sluggish trading
The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) edged down 0.6 percent in the week ending Tuesday amid sluggish trading on the back of Middle East tension and lack of action on economic reforms.
The KSE index closed at 1,394.7 points, its lowest level in nine weeks, down 3.3 percent on the final trading day of 1999, and 50.8 percent below its all-time record in November 1997.
On Sunday, the market crashed below the 1,400-point psychological barrier as investor confidence dipped.
The five-day trading week which starts on Saturday was shortened to four days as Wednesday is a public holiday.
Value of average daily trading sharply dropped to $8.6 million, compared to $18.5 million last week and more than $30 million throughout August.
Analysts attributed weak trading to a combination of factors including the resignation of the information minister Saad bin Teflah al-Ajmi and threats to grill a number of ministers by MPs when parliament reopens next Saturday.
Tension in the Middle East, a drop in profits of listed firms in the third quarter and lack of action on reforms has also contributed to the slide.
Confidence levels on the market had been boosted over the past months by high oil prices, the settlement of billions of dollars of bad debt and the introduction of regulations allowing foreigners to own stocks and trade on the bourse.
But investors are disappointed because none of the promised reforms has been implemented.
Some 87 companies with market capitalization of $21 billion are listed on the KSE, the second largest bourse in the Arab world after the NCFEI in Saudi Arabia. – (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000