The GCC markets closed mixed, according to a new analysis by investor relations consulting firm Iridium Advisors.
Saudi Arabia (+1.8%) advanced the most, partially supported by strong economic data. The Kingdom’s GDP in Q4 2022 rose at a slightly more-than-expected pace, while its non-oil sector PMI hit an 8-year high in February.
Qatar (+1.1%) was driven by foreign institutional and retail investors. Oman (+0.6%) edged higher for a second consecutive week. However, Kuwait (-0.0%) ended flat after gaining in 7 out of the past eight weeks. Abu Dhabi (-0.8%) was weighed down by First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and International Holding Company (IHC).
Bahrain (-0.9%) slid for a second straight week. Losses in realty and financial sector stocks primarily dragged down Dubai (-1.0%).
In the US, the Nasdaq Composite (-4.7%), S&P 500 (-4.5%), and Dow Jones (-4.4%) all reversed their prior week’s gains. The US equity markets were mainly spooked by comments from the US Fed Chief that interest rate hikes could be reaccelerated. The monthly jobs data showing increased job growth cemented the fear. European markets, too, closed in the red, with the FTSE100 (-2.5%), STOXX600 (-2.3%), CAC40 (-1.7%), and DAX (-1.0%) all reversing their past week’s gains.
The week ahead
Regionally, Iridium revealed that weakness in the global equities and crude oil prices mainly due to the interest rate hike concerns and the resultant adverse impact on demand is likely to weigh on the regional markets. Accordingly, participants are expected to focus on the US inflation and China’s retail sales and industrial production data.
This week, Saudi Aramco, Luberef, Emaar Development, NI Group, Zain, Sharjah Insurance, Al Meera, and Baladna, among others, are expected to post their FY 2022 financial performance.
In addition, du, Air Arabia, Dib, Aramex, TAQA, ADNOC Distribution, NBF, Aldar, Alba, IQCD, QAMCO, and others, will seek shareholders’ approval for dividend distribution, bonus issuance, etc. Further, ADNOC Gas is due to list and start trading on ADX this week.
Globally in the US, investors will watch out for the February inflation report. The street is expecting headline inflation to slow down from 6.4% to 6%. Retail sales data will also catch the attention, which is likely to show consumer spending is weakening. In the EU, ECB is expected to raise the interest rate by 50bps, and the speech after that will be of key importance. In the UK, labor market data followed by the spring budget will be on investors’ radar.
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