MSX registers second-biggest monthly gain in GCC during March 2024

Business Tuesday 02/April/2024 16:18 PM
By: Times News Service
MSX registers second-biggest monthly gain in GCC during March 2024

Muscat: The MSX 30 index registered the second-biggest monthly gain in the GCC during March-2024 at 1.8 per cent to close the month at 4,635.71 points, according to a new report.

“In terms of sectoral performance, all the three sector indices on the exchange recorded gains during the month,” Kamco Invest said in its latest GCC Markets Monthly Report March 2024.

The Services Index recorded 6.6 percent increase during March-2024 the biggest gain among the indices to close the month at 1,847.7 points mainly driven by gains in shares of several of the companies in the sector such as Semcorb Salalah (+11.3 percent) and Phoenix Power Company (+15.1 percent), the report further added. In comparison, the Financial Index registered a 3.7 percent monthly gain during March-2024 to close the month at 7,358.6 points, while the Industrial Index witnessed a gain of 2.2 percent for the second consecutive month closing the month at 5,657 points.

In terms of company performance, Barka Water and Power Company topped the gainers list with a share price gain of 365.4 percent followed by SMN Power Holding Company and Dhofar Generating Company with 152.9 percent and 130.4 percent monthly share gains, respectively. On the decliner’s side, National Mineral Water Company led the chart with an 18.2 percent share price fall followed by Sharqiyah Desalination Company and Musandam Power Company which witnessed a share price drop of 15.4 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively.

Trading activity on the exchange witnessed a moderate decline during March-2024, the Kamco Invest report said. Total volume of shares traded in the exchange decreased by 24 percent to 653.4 million during March-2024 shares as compared to 860.3 million in February-2024. Similarly, total value traded in the exchange declined by 22.2 percent to OMR80.7 million against OMR103.8 million in February-2024. Bank Muscat topped the monthly value traded chart with trades at OMR9.2 million followed by SMN Power Holding Company and Al Suwadi Power Company with total value traded at OMR8.9 million and OMR7 million, respectively. In terms of monthly volume traded, Al Suwadi Power Company topped the list with 86.5 million shares followed by Al Anwar Investment and Phoenix Power Company with volumes at 69.8 million shares and 60.2 million shares, respectively.

In economic news, S&P has upgraded Oman’s outlook underlining the Sultanate’s progressing fiscal position and the robust financial condition of the country’s state-owned enterprises. The ratings agency explained that its revision reflects Oman’s continuing government balance sheet improvements. The Sultanate’s rating was upgraded from ‘stable’ to ‘positive’ indicating the confidence and the expectations that Oman’s ongoing economic reform programmes will succeed and may lead quicker than predicted deleveraging in many of its state-owned entities without hampering the Sultanate’s economic growth.

The ratings highlighted the Sultanate’s SOE debt decline from $34.3 billion (31 percent of GDP) by year-end of 2022 to $33.9 billion (31 percent of GDP) at year-end of 2023. Moreover, the ratings agency also affirmed the Sultanate's 'BB+/B'” for the long and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings. S&P Global Ratings expects Oman’s real GDP to grow an average of 2 percent per year from 2024 to 2027. On the other hand, growth in the Sultanate’s real estate market is expected to wane as compared to the growth the sector witnessed in 2023. According to data released by the NCSI, the total value of real estate trading in Oman reached OMR394.9 million by the end of February-2024.

GCC equity markets
GCC equity markets underperformed a sustained rally in global markets during March-2024 with most markets in the region seeing low single-digit declines. As a result, the MSCI GCC index dropped by 3 percent during the month. The decline was mainly led by seasonal selling pressure during the month of Ramadan as investors booked profits after last month’s healthy gains. Bahrain was the best performing market during the month with a gain of 1.9 percent. On the decliner’s side, Qatar was the biggest decliner with a fall of 6 percent. Saudi Arabia was next with a decline of 1.8 percent while Kuwait and Dubai indices declined by 1.5 percent. All these top decliners were the best performing markets last month.

In terms of year-to-date-2024 performance, the MSCI GCC index was up marginally by 0.2 percent during Q1-2024 after gains during February-2024 were almost fully offset by declines during the remaining two months. Kuwait continued to lead in the GCC with a Q1-2024 gain of 7.5 percent followed by Dubai and Saudi Arabia with gains of 4.6 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively. On the decliner’s side, Qatar’s DSM index topped with a steep decline of 9.1 percent followed by Abu Dhabi General Index that declined by 3.7 percent during Q1-2024.

The decline also reflected a fall in large-cap sectors during the month. This included Telecom, Banks and Energy with low single-digit declines. The sectoral decliner’s chart was topped by Pharma & Biotech sector with a fall of 9.6 percent followed by Hotels & Leisure that slid 8.1 percent. Telecom and Banks showed declines of 3.5 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively. On the gainer’s side, Utilities topped with a healthy gain of 7.1 percent closely followed by Insurance and Diversified Financials with gains of 6.8 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively.