Gulf markets edge higher

November 2, 2008

, KUWAIT CITY, November 2 – Stock markets in the oil-rich Gulf states edged higher at the week\’s opener Sunday as they start a new month following massive losses in October over fears from the global financial crisis.

The Doha Securities Market surged 5.5 percent to above the key 7,000-point mark with all sectors rising.

In the United Arab Emirates, the Dubai Financial Market, which was the biggest loser in the Gulf last month, rose 2.6 percent and was trading above the 3,000-point mark.

The DMF Index got solid support from market leader, property giant Emaar which rose 4.3 percent and construction company Arabtec which gained 4.6 percent.

The other UAE market, Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange was up 1.6 percent as the leading real estate sector rose 4.6 percent and banks added 2.6 percent.

The Kuwait Stock Exchange, the second largest Arab bourse, was 1.44 percent higher above 9,900 points, following sharp losses last week.

But shares of the Gulf Bank, the second biggest lender, remained suspended for the second week after encountering losses from derivatives deals.

Newspapers reported Sunday that the central bank is preparing to lend the bank 400 million dinars (1.5 billion dollars) to help it face losses estimated at more than 200 million dinars (750 million dollars).

The small Muscat Securities Market gained 5.4 percent and the Bahrain Stock Exchange increased 0.7 percent.

The Saudi market, the largest in the Arab world, starts trading at 0800 GMT. It opened the week\’s trading Saturday with a rise of almost six percent.

The seven stock markets in the Arab states of the Gulf region plummeted by 250 billion dollars in October as indexes sank by an average 25 percent amid the global market meltdown.

A mild upturn at the end of the month did little to counteract the earlier rout and the Gulf markets ended October valued at 720 billion dollars, an enormous 400 billion less than at the start of the year.

Analysts have blamed low investor confidence for the rout.

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