The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) edged down 0.9 percent on the week ending Wednesday amid rising tension in the Middle East, analysts said.
The KSE index closed at a five-week low of 1,427 points, one percent off its end of 1999 closing but still a staggering 49.8 percent lower than its all-time record high in November 1997.
Analysts said the market had been affected by the deadly clashes between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as experiencing a shift in buying that has led to a downward turn in the price-weighted index.
"Investors have been over the past few weeks changing from low-profitable shares to high-yielding stocks, especially in the banking and service sectors," Sami al-Hasawi of Kuwait Financial Center told AFP.
"It appears that there are two bourses in the market, one for the blue chips and another for the other stocks," he added.
But Hasawi said investors are still optimistic about the future of the market, especially after an improvement in the profitability of certain shares in the third quarter.
Confidence levels on the market have 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.
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. – (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000