Kuwaiti stocks slip on regional tension
The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) edged down in the week ending Wednesday amid low trading as escalation of tension between Iraq and Kuwait pushed traders to sell, analysts said.
The KSE index closed at 1,443.9 points, 0.3 percent down on the week but a staggering 49.1 percent lower than its all-time record high in November 1997.
"The market has certainly been influenced by the Iraqi threats and the tension. But the drop was much less than expected. This is an indication that confidence is strong," Sami al-Hasawi of Kuwait Financial Center told AFP.
"A majority of traders appear to have great faith in government economic plans, motivated by the sharp increase in oil prices. This is what has consolidated confidence in the bourse," Hasawi said.
Confidence levels, which dwindled in June and July, have been boosted 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.
Average daily trading this week was 18 million dollars, less than half of the 39.6 million dollars last week, but still three times higher than levels in June and July when the index dipped to a five-year low.
Some 87 companies with market capitalization of 21 billion dollars are listed on the KSE, the second largest bourse in the Arab world after the NCFEI in Saudi Arabia.
©Agence France Presse