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MENAFN Press - 04/03/2014
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(MENAFN Press) Kuwait Financial Centre "Markaz" recently released its Monthly Market Research report. In this report, Markaz examines and analyzes the performance of equity markets in the MENA region as well as the global equity markets.

Equity markets from the MENA region continued to increase as nearly all indices ended the month on a positive note. Dubai and Egypt led the region rising by 12 and 9 per cent respectively, while Jordan registered the only decline at 2.5 per cent in February.

The S&P GCC index moved up 3.3 per cent in the month of February to close at 127 points. The S&P Pan Arabian Composite LargeMid Cap Index rose by 4.1 per cent to close at 175 points. Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar recorded returns of over 5 per cent. While overall market liquidity improved in the region, value traded declined in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Jordan.

P/E of Jordan remained unmoved, while valuations of the rest of the MENA countries increased. The Dubai index has the highest P/E ratio of 19.6x followed closely by the Kuwait Weighted Index at 18.2x. Jordan, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain have dividend yields over 4%. With relatively low P/E values and high dividend yields, Bahrain, Jordan and Abu Dhabi markets might be offering value. Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have high price-to-book ratios (around 2x), while Jordan and Bahrain have low P/B ratios.

The value traded in the MENA markets rose by 10.5 per cent in February, to USD 55.5billion compared to USD 50.2billion in January. Saudi Arabia and UAE together account for 83 per cent of the total value traded in the MENA region. Bahrain, Jordan, and Morocco together contributed less than 1 per cent to the total value traded in February. Oman and Morocco witnessed the biggest month-on-month increase in value traded at 223 and 146 per cent, respectively

IPO: Shares of Takaful Oman Insurance, constituting a 40 per cent stake worth OMR 4.08million, were listed in the first week of February The company's share offer was oversubscribed to the tune of five-and-a-half times - four times in the case of retail segment and seven times by institutional investors. The Dubai Financial Market is close to gaining its first new listing since 2009 after Marka, a retailer, announced plans to launch an AED 500million initial public offering that would make it the country's first publicly listed retailer. Marka has already received preliminary approval from the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) and is expected to launch the IPO on the DFM as per schedule. 55 per cent stake representing 275 million shares would be offered to the public in an IPO at a price of Dh1 per share. The Saudi Arabian government has planned to sell 15 per cent stake in the country's largest lender, the Jeddah-based National Commercial Bank (NCB), in an IPO. This would be the country's first IPO since 2008. The market regulator's approval for the IPO is expected to be sought in the third quarter of this year

Global equities rallied in February, as the MSCI world index rose by close to 5 per cent. Despite contraction in manufacturing growth in China, emerging markets showed some signs of recovery, as the MSCI EM index ended the month at 966, rising by 3 per cent. The news of strong lending growth in January buoyed the markets, as banks circulated the highest number of new loans in almost four years in January. But this prompted the central bank to drain almost USD 8bn out of money markets, to control lending activity. Emerging markets improved marginally as Shanghai Index rose 0.4 per cent and BSE Sensex (India) grew by 2.3 per cent

IPE Brent declined by 1.6 per cent in the month of February, as energy consumption in the US was down to its lowest level since last June, despite a cold winter. Oil prices continued to remain above USD 100/bbl at month's close, closing at USD 109.1/bbl, despite the drop in value. Gold prices continued to rise, closing at USD 1326 up 6.6 per cent from January close

About Markaz
Kuwait Financial Centre 'Markaz', with total assets under management of over 975 million as of December 31, 2013, was established in 1974 has become one of the leading asset management and investment banking institutions in the Arabian Gulf Region. Markaz was listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) in 1997.



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