GCC markets turned in a mixed performance last week, according to a new analysis by investor relations consulting firm Iridium Advisors.
On the brighter side, Oman (+0.6%) clawed back some of last week’s losses, while Bahrain (+0.3%) advanced for a fifth consecutive week. However, this upward momentum was offset by identical declines in Saudi Arabia (-0.4%), due to a drop in Saudi Aramco, and Dubai (-0.4%), weighed down by banking sector losses.
Further, Qatar (-0.9%) saw most of its prior week’s gains wiped out, registering the largest fall since mid-March.
ADNOC Gas and Fertiglobe’s weak performance contributed to a fall in Abu Dhabi (-1.6%).
The downswing trend in Kuwait’s market (-2.1%) continued, posting a decline for the fifth week in a row.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the Dow Jones (+0.4%) and S&P 500 (+1.6%) swung back to gains, with the Nasdaq Composite (+3.0%) building on its previous week’s uptick.
Encouragingly, the positive closing was fueled by rising optimism about an imminent agreement on the US debt ceiling and better-than-expected earnings reports.
The markets across Europe echoed their American counterparts, led by Germany’s DAX (+2.3%), closely followed by France’s CAC40 (+1.0%), the pan-European STOXX600 (+0.7%), and the UK’s FTSE100 keeping pace.
Read more: Most GCC markets concluded on a positive note: Report
The week ahead
GCC markets may well adopt a more reserved stance in the days ahead as political developments in the US set a cautious tone, according to the Iridium report. Weekend media reports indicate that Republican negotiators have temporarily stepped away from talks aimed at raising the US debt ceiling, stating that discussions will only resume upon POTUS’ return from the G-7 summit. Such a deadlock could have ripple effects across the globe, affecting market sentiment. Simultaneously, a tapering off of earnings releases is expected, given that the majority of companies have already published their Q1 2023 financial results. On the corporate agenda, United Foods’ Board of Directors will review the company’s performance for the quarter ended Apr 2023. Further, Kamco’s Board is slated to discuss a potential bond issuance worth KWD 20 million, and National International Holdings is set to seek shareholder approval for dividend payout and the issuance of bonus shares.
Debt ceiling discussion to be in focus
In the US, economic data points such as PMI data, 1Q GDP, along with speeches from the Federal Reserve, and the much-debated debt ceiling will be on investors’ radars. On the European front, manufacturing, and services PMI data will be closely scrutinized, along with consumer confidence data. Speeches from ECB policymakers are anticipated to catch investors’ attention, as will the ECB’s non-policy meeting in Frankfurt. The UK will have a hectic week ahead, with a focus on inflation data, which is projected to moderate in April, PMI surveys, and retail sales figures.
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