Middle East turmoil drags down Arab bourses
The violence raging through Israel and the Palestinian territories dragged down Arab stock markets this week, with Egypt by far the worst hit, Bakheet Financial Advisors (BFA) said Saturday.
"Arab investors were upset with the recent Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians and were in no mood to play the stock market," the Riyadh-based investment specialists said.
"Almost all of the Arab stock markets had no way to go but down... which is a rather unusual phenomenon given that the three Arab regions (Gulf, Levant and Maghreb) are driven by different economic/political factors," BFA said.
Only Jordan bucked the trend. The Amman stock exchange index gained 1.2 percent to close at 134.27 on the rise of Arab Bank, which accounts for 45 percent of the market capitalization.
The Al-Quds index of the Palestinian territories was forced to close because of the turmoil.
In Cairo, the Hermes Financial Index shed 6.5 percent to 6,978.80 points, continuing heavy losses of the previous two weeks.
Lebanon's BLOM index is also on a downward slide and lost 1.9 percent this week to 617.72, the same percentage drop as last week when uncertainty over the next government's ability to tackle the country's difficulties troubled investors.
The Tunindex in Tunisia slipped 1.3 percent to 1,427.15 points while in Morocco losses were limited to 0.1 percent as the Casablanca stock exchange index finished on 723.88 points.
In the Gulf, Bahrain's BSE Index suffered most, down 1.5 percent to 1,838.09.
Kuwait's KSE was unchanged at 1,440.60 while Saudi Arabia's NCFEI finished the week down just 0.1 percent at 2,358.48.
Oman's MSM index dropped 0.2 percent to 193.93; the NBAD in the Emirates weakened 0.3 percent to 2,590.28 points and Qatar's CBQ index lost 0.8 percent to end at 206.63. — (AFP, Riyadh)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)