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MSX remains top performer in GCC markets for second month in a row

2 Jun 2024 By GULAM ALI KHAN

Muscat – The Muscat Stock Exchange (MSX) emerged as the top-performing stock market in the GCC region for the second consecutive month. The Omani bourse was one of only two markets in the GCC that recorded gains during May, while four GCC markets reported declines.

The MSX 30 Index registered the biggest monthly gain in the GCC during May 2024, increasing by 1.3% to close the month at 4,845.7 points. The MSX also remained the best-performing equity market in the GCC for the first five months of this year, according to a research report released by Kuwait-based Kamco Investment.

‘Oman was the best-performing market in the GCC with a year-to-date 2024 gain of 7.3%, followed by Kuwait and Bahrain with gains of 3.4% during the first five months of the year,’ the report said.

The Financial Index was the primary driver of Oman’s index growth during May 2024, recording a 3.2% increase during the month, the biggest gain among the indices. The growth was mainly driven by gains in shares of several companies in the sector such as Oman Arab Bank and Bank Nizwa. In comparison, the Industrial Index registered a monthly gain of 1.0% during May, while the Services Index witnessed a monthly drop of 1.7%.

In terms of company performance, Oman Arab Bank topped the gainers list with a share price gain of 20.0% in May, followed by Oman Cables Industry Company and Bank Nizwa with monthly share gains of 15.0% and 13.1%, respectively.

On the decliners’ side, Al Hassan Engineering Company led the chart with a 20.0% share price fall, followed by Dhofar Beverages & Foodstuff Company and Dhofar Generating Company, which witnessed share price drops of 10.8% and 10.0%, respectively.

Trading activity on the bourse witnessed a moderate decline during May. The total volume of shares traded on the exchange declined by 6.6% to 559mn shares compared to 696.3mn in April. Similarly, the total value of shares traded on the exchange decreased by 22.7% to RO89.8mn against RO116.2mn in April.

GCC markets slide

The GCC equity market index declined for the third straight month in May as geopolitical issues and lower crude oil prices worsened a sell-off in global emerging markets.

The MSCI GCC Index registered the biggest decline in 17 months, falling by 6.4% during May to close at 658.85 points, according to the Kamco Investment report.

‘The decline reflected falls in four out of seven regional indices, while three reported gains during the month. The decline also reflected bets favouring higher-for-longer interest rates since the start of the month and the resulting higher borrowing rates for regional corporates, although the latest data for personal consumption expenditure in the US reignited bets for a rate cut this year,’ the report said.

Kuwait’s index remained flat during the month after the marginal decline in the large-cap Premier Market index was fully offset by a gain in the Main Market index. Saudi Arabia reported the biggest decline during the month, with the TASI falling by 7.2%, the biggest monthly decline since September 2022, reaching the lowest level in more than five months. Dubai and Qatari benchmarks were next with declines of more than 4%.

In terms of year-to-date performance, the decline during the month pushed the MSCI GCC index further into the red, reaching an 8.2% loss by the end of May 2024. Qatar’s main index registered the biggest decline since the start of the year at –14%, followed by Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia with declines of 7.5% and 3.9%, respectively.

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