Fifteen Kuwaiti firms among top 100 in Gulf.

Fifteen Kuwaiti companies are among the top 100 companies in the Gulf Region for 2018 based on the market value of shares, reports Al-Rai daily.Gulf Business Magazine, in cooperation with Marmore Mina Intelligence, publishes the list annually.

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) topped Kuwait’s list by eight points, up by four positions from 2017, with a market capitalization of $16.94 billion; Kuwait Finance House (KFH) ranked 17th with a market capitalization of $12.36 billion, Zain ranked 30th with a market capitalization of $6.83 billion, Agility ranked 37th with a market capitalization of $4.42 billion, Boubyan Bank ranked 39th with a market capitalization of $4.36 billion, Commercial Bank of Kuwait (CBK) was listed on the list with a market value of $3.01 billion, followed by Gulf Bank at 60 and a market capitalization of $2.55 billion, Mabani ranked 67th with a market capitalization of $2.16 billion, Ahli United Bank ranked 73rd with a market capitalization of $1.98 billion, Boubyan Petrochemical Company ranked 76th with market capitalization of $1.92 billion, Burgan Bank ranked 77th with market capitalization of $1.87 billion, Al-Ahli Bank of Kuwait ranked 86th with market capitalization of $1.57 billion, HumanSoft ranked 88th with a market value of $1.35 billion, followed by Ooredoo with a market value of $1.29 billion and Al-Qurain ranked 99th with a market value of $1.21 billion.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) topped the list with a market capitalization of $95.18 billion, followed by Saudi Telecom (STC) with a market value of $44.15 billion and Abu Dhabi First Bank with market value of $43.62 billion.

According to Gulf Business Magazine, the Gulf Region has enjoyed a positive year so far with the top 100 companies making impressive gains in the market in conditions marked by major changes. Private sector companies have seen challenges in recent months, including broad diversification, rapidly evolving technology, socio-economic developments, and adverse global winds.

The S & P GCC index posted a gain of 6.3 percent by mid-September, boosted by a number of positive developments, such as the inclusion of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in emerging market indices, the strong momentum of reform across the Gulf and the continued recovery in oil prices.

Gulf Business pointed out that during most of the year, Kuwaiti and Saudi stocks were preferred among investors. This was largely due to expectations of Saudi Arabia joining the MSCI Emerging Markets Index in 2019 and the decision to upgrade FTSE Russell to Kuwait to the status of emerging secondary markets. Based on performance of the market, the Abu Dhabi and Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) gained 12.9 percent and 9.1 percent respectively, and Saudi Tadawul recorded good gains in the first half.

The report informed that rebound in oil prices, now doubling since its lowest level in 2016, as well as the successful issuance of bonds to raise capital from international markets, enabled Saudi Arabia to better manage its finances. On the other hand, the Muscat index fell by 10.5 percent while the Dubai index fell by 17.7 percent due mainly to the decline in real estate stocks.

The report showed that the second half of the year witnessed a positive start for Gulf stock markets. Kuwait has emerged as the strongest performer among its peers in the region. This performance is due to the strong performance of banks in the region.

The report pointed out that most of the banks in the region recorded strong growth in profits during the second half, with profitability being boosted by higher interest rates, increased economic activity and government spending; indicating that the main companies in Kuwait including KFH and Al-Watani were among the best performers, with gains of 8.2 percent and 8 percent respectively.

Despite the positive signs, the liquidity of stock markets in most Gulf markets has deteriorated due to declining investor appetite, increased risk perception and absence of new public offerings remain a barrier in a market largely dominated by retail customers. In another context, the report explained that the high interest rate environment can enhance the profitability of Gulf banks in the short term, as most banks have large deposits without interest, which means that the impact of the cost of financing will be very moderate.

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