By Zakariya Fikri -
MUSCAT — The Muscat Securities Market (MSM 30) index edged up 9,71 points or 0.17 per cent to close at 5,852.57 in the last session of the week.
A total number of 1,989 trades were executed in yesterday’s trading session generating turnover RO 7.32 million, up by 10.88 per cent compared to the previous session, with 35.86 million shares traded. Out of 54 stocks traded 21 advanced, 10 declined and 23 remained unchanged.
All the three major sectors advanced led by the Financial sector index which increased by 0.54 per cent followed by the Services sector which closed up by 0.04 per cent and the Industrial sector index by 0.01 per cent.
Al Batinah Development and Investment Holding was the top gainer for the day and closed up by 6.12 per cent at RO 0.052. Construction Materials, Oman Chlorine and Al Anwar Holding increased by 3.77 per cent, 3.41 per cent and 4.40 per cent respectively.
Global Financial Investment was the top loser in yesterday’s session and declined by 1.82 per cent to close at RO 0.108. United Finance, SMN Power Holding, Oman Fisheries declined by 1.16 per cent, 1.07 per cent and 0.95 per cent respectively.
Al Anwar Holding was the most active in terms of volume registering 5.6 million shares with a total turnover of RO 847,9 followed by National Aluminium Products which traded 3.73 million shares.
Oil prices too advanced yesterday, with Brent reaching fresh five-month high levels.
Brent North Sea crude for March delivery reached $117.72 a barrel — the highest level since September 14. In later London midday deals, the contract stood at $117.63, a rise of 90 cents compared with Wednesday's close.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for March gained 33 cents to $96.95 per barrel.
Meanwhile, world's major stock markets were down yesterday and the euro hit a near two-week low against the dollar after the European Central Bank's chief said policymakers will monitor the impact of a rising currency and cited downside risks to the bloc's economy.
On Wall Street, shares came under pressure, with traders citing technical factors and the less-upbeat comments on the economy from ECB President Mario Draghi. US stocks have been on an uptrend so far this year, with the S&P 500 up more than 5 per cent.
The ECB left its main interest rate at 0.75 per cent. In a post-meeting press conference, Draghi said the exchange rate was not a policy target, but is important for growth and price stability. He also said risks to the economy were on the downside and that economic weakness in the euro zone will likely prevail in the coming months.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 125.52 points, or 0.90 per cent, at 13,861.00. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 12.21 points, or 0.81 per cent, at 1,499.91. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 27.46 points, or 0.87 per cent, at 3,141.01.