Major Middle Eastern stock markets rose in early trade on Tuesday but then lost steam just below technical resistances, showing many investors remain nervous about unstable oil prices.
Rises in oil and global equities markets over the past several days have helped to create a feeling that the worst may be over for Gulf bourses; this sentiment has been seen in rising trading volumes.
But confidence has not completely returned, and Saudi Arabian data on Tuesday underlined pressures on the economy from low oil prices. After the government raised gasoline prices in late December as an austerity step, annual inflation jumped to 4.3 per cent in January – the highest since the data series began in September 2012 – from 2.3 per cent in December.
The Saudi stock index was up 0.3 per cent at 5,996 points after 45 minutes of trade. It faces resistance at the February and January peaks of 6,056-6,098 points.
Saudi Basic Industries pulled back 1.4 per cent, and most gainers were small-caps such as insurer Alinma Tokio, up 4.6 per cent.
Dubai’s stock index was up 0.1 per cent at 3,174 points; it faces resistance on the late December peak of 3,189 points. Beaten-down construction stock Drake & Scull continued rebounding and added a further 1.9 per cent.
In Qatar the most heavily traded stock, drilling rig provider Gulf International Services, climbed 3.0 per cent while Industries Qatar rose 1.5 per cent. The overall index, however, added only 0.4 per cent.
Egypt’s index, which on Monday gained 1.3 per cent, edged down 0.3 per cent to 6,069 points. It faces resistance on the February peak of 6,261 points.
Beltone Financial, which has been soaring for 10 days on hopes that its new owners will make the company a financial powerhouse, jumped its 10 per cent daily limit once again. But most stocks among the 10 most heavily traded barely moved.
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