Kuwaiti stocks unshaken by violence

Kuwaiti shares have soared past the 6500-point psychological barrier for the first time despite the threat of unrest in the emirate, traders say.

    Two officers were killed in clashes on 10 and 15 January

    The Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) index finished on Monday, the first day of trading after a five-day holiday for the Eid al-Adha, at 6510.50 points, up slightly from last week's close of 6480.80. 

    The index is 1.6% up on last year's close of 6409.50 points and compares with the previous record of 6498.90 points set on 7 December. 

    All eight sectors made gains, topped by the services sector, which increased 0.8%. The market has capitalised on better-than-expected year-end results announced by a number of blue chips, including bourse leader National Bank of Kuwait, which recorded a 24% rise in 2004 net profits. 

    Tension ignored

    The Kuwaiti bourse appears to have ignored tension in the emirate caused by clashes between security forces and suspected rebels on 10 and 15 January, which left two officers and two suspects dead. 

    However, market activity was moderate, with trading value at $133.5 million, down on last year's daily average of $208.8 million. 

    The market ended 2004 up 33.8% on the back of a positive economy and a stable security outlook before the violence flared. 

    With capitalisation of more than $74 billion, the KSE is the second-largest stock market in the Arab world after Saudi Arabia's $306 billion. It lists 125 Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti firms.

    SOURCE: AFP


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