Kuwait down ahead of FTSE entry, other Middle East markets mixed

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DUBAI (Reuters) – Kuwait’s stock market fell on Sunday, pausing after recent gains ahead of joining of the FTSE Russell emerging market index this week, which is expected to draw investment from passive funds.

Entry to the emerging market index will be in two phases, on Sept. 24 and Dec. 24. Arqaam Capital estimates the inflows in across the two phases will reach $1 billion.

Kuwait’s main index <.BKP> closed 1.4 percent down, pressured by telecoms and financial stocks.

Telecoms group Zain <ZAIN.KW> ended the day 2.5 percent lower, Kuwait Finance House <KFH.KW> lost 2.5 percent and National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) <NBKK.KW> fell 2.4 percent while logistics company Agility <AGLT.KW> dropped by 2 percent.

The index has gained almost 11 percent in the year to date. This quarter alone it has climbed by 8 percent on expected inflows ahead of the FTSE Russell inclusion.

Elsewhere, Middle East markets were mixed.

Egypt’s index <.EGX30>, which plunged 3.8 percent on Wednesday, added 1.3 percent. Abu Dhabi’s benchmark <.ADI> closed 0.2 percent up, Dubai <.DFMGI> dipped by 0.1 percent and the Qatari index <.QSI> was flat.

In Egypt, Orascom Investment Holdings <OIH.CA> soared by 9.9 percent after announcing that it has been granted an exemption from the United Nations to operate its Koryolink venture in North Korea. Orascom Construction <ORAS.CA> also jumped by 9.9 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, Union National Bank (UNB)<UNB.AD> and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB)<ADCB.AD> rose 0.6 percent and 0.9 percent respectively. The two banks are in merger talks along with unlisted Al Hilal Bank.

In Dubai, investment company Amanat Holding <AMANT.DU> dropped 3.3 percent, logistics company Aramex <ARMX.DU> fell 1.5 percent and blue-chip developer Emaar Properties <EMAR.DU> lost 0.2 percent.

In Qatar, the region’s biggest lender, Qatar National Bank (QNB)<QNBK.QA>, rose 0.7 percent. Petrochemicals, metals and fertiliser producer Industries Qatar <IQCD.QA> fell 0.7 percent.

Saudi Arabia’s stock market was closed for the country’s national day.

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