x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Regional markets rangebound as traders eye Egypt woes

CLOSING BELL: Dana Gas, a gas explorer and producer, declined amid tensions in Egypt. Shares in the Gulf remain rangebound on political developments.

Deadlock was the name of the game as regional markets remained rangebound as political developments in Egypt kept investors on the sidelines.

"Fund managers see the Middle East and North Africa region as one area, and the moment they see unrest in one, they will look to divest and explore other markets," said Mohammed Ali Yassin, the chief investment officer at CAPM Investments.

Kuwait's measure lost 0.4 per cent to 6944.00, Bahrain's measure was added 0.8 per cent to 1472.58. Oman's bourse was also unchanged at 6947.14.

Qatar's bourse lost 0.8 per cent to 8974.07. In the UAE, stocks that were most affected were ones that were perceived to have exposure or business with the country, Mr Yassin said.

Dana Gas declined as foreign investors worried about its operations in Egypt amid continued protests.

The gas explorer and producer declined as much as 4 per cent, closing at 71 fils. According to data by the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, foreign investors sold US$2.6m in Dana Gas shares on Wednesday.

Analysts say the protests will not affect Dana operationally, but may lead to delays in payments.

"Operationally we don't think this will cause any impact as Dana's operations are outside of Cairo," said Scott Darling, an analyst at Nomura in Dubai. "But they may face late payments on their hydrocarbons products from Egypt's national oil company," he said.

The main variable is how long the unrest will continue, he said.

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index declined 0.3 per cent to 2659.04.

The Dubai Financial Market General Index lost 0.9 per cent to 1612.63. Arabtec Holding lost 1.1 per cent to Dh1.78. Earlier during the trading session, the stock lost as much as 3 per cent, but it rebounded late in the day. Drake and Scull International, Dubai's second biggest contractor, lost 2.6 per cent to Dh1.09.The Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index was closed for the day.