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A trading session at the Kuwait Stock Exchange in progress.
KSE continues to lurk in green zone NBK edges up 10 fils; ZAIN gains 8.84%

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 13: Trading on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) continued to lurk in the green zone as activities ended on Wednesday. The weighted index reached 488.86 points, gaining 2.24 points and the price index stood at 7,245.71 points, putting on 11.18 points and the KSX 15 reached 1,204.33 points, with a gain of 8.65 points. The Number of trades reached 4,451 while the total value of shares was KD 22,509,923.289 with a volume of 173,304,589.
Top gainers were COAST, TAHSSILAT, MASHAER, NINV and SANAM. The top volume stocks were GFH, SAFTEC, COAST, AYAYAN and GNAHC. Top value stocks of the day were AGILITY, FOOD, ZAIN, IFAHR and GFH while SGC, MASSALEH, EKTTITAB, POULT and ENERGYH ended up among the losing bracket.   
The consumer goods sector was the biggest winner of the day among the various sectors, exceeding its previous day’s trading index by 0.78% to close at 1,331.1. The sector also recorded 115.75 percent increase in trading volume to represent 0.81 percent of the total market volume. The sector saw total 97 deals transacted- a whopping 73.21 percent change on the previous day, representing 2.18 percent of the market. 
In share value terms, the sector finished with KD1.640, a 157.87 percent jump on the previous day’s value of KD 0.636. Financial Services was another sector that saw brisk trading in index terms, going up 0.53 percent to close at KD 0.990 but suffered a 9.56 percent drop to 83.525 fils in trading volume compare to the previous day’s 92.351 fils but still managed to finish with a 48.20 percent market share. The sector recorded 37.21 percent rise in deals to close at 7.63 percent jump in value at KD 0.556. 
Technology sector dropped 1.03 percent to KD 0.9572 on the index but saw a monumental 2,054.53 percent jump on volume traded compared to the previous day with a corresponding 264.29 percent increase in deals to close the day at KD 0.677- a whopping 1,787.22% change in the value.  Among the top value stocks, AGILITY remained flat at KD 0.820 after weak trading while FOOD gained 80 fils to close at KD 0.3180 after brisk trading on the floor. ZAIN also remained flat on the previous day’s KD 0.660 price with IFAHR adding 8 fils to close at KD 0.232. GFH finished flat at KD 0.042. 
Among the top gainers, COAST added five fils to its value to finish at KD 0.062 while TASHEELAT went up 5.56% to close at KD 0.057. Another top gainer of the day MASHAER went up 5.43% to close KD 0.194 but still has its year-to-date figure in the red at 9.29%.  National Investment Company (NINV) saw a 5.33% rise in share price at KD 0.158 while SANAM went up 4.84% to close at KD 0.065.  
On the other hand, Securities Group Company (SGC) slid 7.27% to finish at KD 0.102 to claim leadership of the top five losers of the day followed closely by MASSALEH which also dropped 6.17% to close at KD 0.076. EKTTITAB was next, losing 3 fils to close at KD 0.053 with POULT also losing 10 fils to finish at KD 0.190. ENRGYH lost 4 fils to close at KD 0.086. On the top value stocks, NBK edged up 10 fils to finish at KD 1.000 while KFIN also added 10 fils to finish at KD 0.830 with ZAIN rising 8.84% to close trading at KD 0.660. AUB and FOOD each recorded 4.27% and 3.96% uptick in prices respectively.
In corporate news of the day, The National Real Estate Company earned KD 8.1 million in first six months of 2014, the company said in a statement issued on Wednesday. The earnings for the six months’ period were at a rate of 9.58 fils per share, compared to 7.83 (fps) for the profits of the same period of time in the past year. 
Shareholders’ equity amounted to KD 183.7 million for the six-month-period that ended on June 30, in contrast to KD 169.2 million of the same period in 2013. Overall assets amounted to approximately KD 532 million, liabilities KD 325.7 million, also comparing this period to that of the past year, where the liabilities had reached some KD 312.8 million. 
Meanwhile, major Saudi food producer Savola Group said on Wednesday it had begun preliminary talks on a potential acquisition of Kuwait Food Co (Americana), one of the Middle East’s largest food companies. Savola has attended an investor road-show held by Americana management, but talks have not yet reached a stage that would require disclosure, the company said in a bourse filing. 
Reuters reported in April that the al-Kharafi family, the billionaire majority shareholder in Americana at 66.8 percent, had hired investment bank Rothschild to explore a possible sale of the business. With a $4.4 billion market capitalization, Americana is a franchise operator of restaurants including KFC and Pizza Hut, owned by Yum Brands, and Red Lobster and Olive Garden, owned by Darden Restaurants.
It also makes food products such as frozen vegetables. The company, which says it has over 63,000 employees and operates in 13 countries, posted sales of $3.1 billion in 2013 and net profit of $179 million.  Because of hopes for a sale, its shares have surged 25.2 percent since early April, against a 4.2 percent retreat by the wider Kuwait market index. The stock climbed 3.2 percent to a record high in early trade on Wednesday in response to Savola’s statement. Americana officials have consistently declined to comment on acquisition talks, while members of the al-Kharafi family could not be reached for comment this week. 
Also, United Real Estate Company (URC), the MENA region’s leading real estate developer announced its results for the first half of 2014, achieving a net profit of KD 3.5 millionand an operating frofit of KD 8.2 million. 
During the second quarter of this year, URC distributed 8% in cash dividends, which were approved during the company’s annual general assembly meeting held in April, for a total amount of KD 8.6 million. In addition to achieving sound financial results, URC engaged in a number of sales and marketing projects and continued to develop its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs through several initiatives organized this year. The company participated in two real estate exhibitions on both a local and on an international level, including ‘MIPIM’, one of the most prominent international real estate events held annually in Cannes, France. 
Kuwait Finance House (KFH) is awaiting regulatory approval to hire the former head of consumer banking at National Bank of Kuwait as its new chief executive, the country’s biggest Islamic lender said on Wednesday.
London-based Gatehouse Bank, a subsidiary of Kuwaiti firm Securities House, is developing new business lines and widening its investor base as the Islamic wholesale lender looks to build a more stable revenue stream, its chief executive said.
Gatehouse, one of Britain’s six full-fledged Islamic banks, is joining several of its peers in broadening its scope, after the country’s Islamic finance sector got a boost from the government’s first issue of an Islamic bond in June.
The bank remains focused on real estate in Europe and the United States but wants to expand its investor base beyond Kuwait, its traditional source of funds, while generating more deals outside the British property market.
Among its competitors, Islamic Bank of Britain is building its commercial property business after a capital injection in February from Qatari parent Masraf Al Rayan. European Islamic Investment Bank is seeking to develop its asset management and advisory services, while exiting higher-risk private equity investments.
Last year, Bank of London and the Middle East listed its shares on the Nasdaq Dubai bourse to help it grow business links in the wider Gulf region. Gatehouse has $2.2 billion in assets under management, up from $1.6 billion a year ago, while profits grew 65 percent in 2013. However, fee and commission income dropped more than two-thirds during last year, partly because of lower deal activity in Britain.
 By Iddris Seidu
Arab Times Staff

By: Iddris Seidu

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