Muscat – The Muscat Stock Exchange (MSX) was the second-best performing market in the GCC for the second consecutive month in March 2023. The MSX30 index recorded a monthly growth of 2.3 per cent in March to close the month at 4,863.09 points.
After reaching multi-month lows during February, most GCC equity markets continued to report declines during March. However, a steep recovery in Saudi Arabia and an elevated Oman market helped pull the GCC index into the green after a volatile month, Kuwait-based Kamco Investment said in a report.
Saudi Arabia, as per the report, was the best performing GCC market during the month with a gain of 4.8 per cent following a steep recovery during the second half of the month.
At Muscat Stock Exchange, in terms of sector performance, two out of the three sector indices recorded monthly gains during March.
Industrial sector index recorded the biggest monthly growth of 2.2 per cent. The growth was primarily driven by small number of top performing companies including SMN Power Holding which witnessed share price growth of 31.9 per cent during March and Anwar Ceramic Tiles which witnessed 13.3 per cent gains.
Financial sector index witnessed a monthly rise of 1.8 per cent while services sector index registered a marginal monthly drop of 0.4 per cent during March.
Trading activity increases
According to the Kamco Investment report, trading activity at the MSX increased during March with monthly value traded recording a gain of 116 per cent to reach RO91.9mn during as compared to RO42.5mn during February.
Similarly, total volume of shares traded in the Omani exchange witnessed an increase of 95.7 per cent to 317.8mn during March as compared to 162.4mn in February.
Bank Muscat topped the monthly value traded chart for March with trades at RO38.7mn followed by Ominvest and Sohar International Bank with total value traded at RO15.9mn and RO15.8mn, respectively.
In terms of company performance, shares of Al Batinah Development and Investment Holding topped the gainers list with a share price gain of 76.2 per cent followed by SMN Power Holding and Oman Qatar Insurance Company with 31.9 per cent and 25.7 per cent monthly share gains, respectively.
On the decliner’s side, Dhofar Cattle Feed Company topped the monthly losers list with a share price drop of 14.3 per cent followed by Sharqiyah Desalination Company and Oman Chromite Company which recorded 11.1 per cent and 10 per cent share price declines during the month, respectively.
Elsewhere in the GCC, Abu Dhabi’s ADX index reported the biggest decline in the region with the benchmark down by 4.2 per cent in March 2023 followed by Qatar and Kuwait with declines of 3.4 per cent and 2.7 per cent, respectively.
In a comment, Fadi Reyad, chief market analyst at CAPEX.com MENA, said, “GCC stock markets remain exposed to volatility and lower prices in energy markets after fears of a banking crisis in the US and Europe retreated. In the meantime, strong local fundamentals could alleviate these effects.”
Reyad said oil prices could come under pressure another time while the US economy declined faster than expected, leading to some concerns about the demand there. At the same time, Chinese economic activity surpassed expectations, supporting the idea of a gradual recovery in demand from that market.