Kuwait Stocks Rise Most Since April on Investment Rule Extension

Kuwaiti stocks advanced the most in three months, bucking the declines in Persian Gulf markets, after the country’s regulator extended a deadline for investment companies to comply with a capital markets law.

National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the country’s largest lender, gained 1.9 percent. Ithmaar Bank BSC (ITHMR), an Islamic investment bank, headed for its biggest advance in more than two months. The benchmark SE Price Index climbed 0.6 percent, the biggest intraday gain since April 20, to 6,006.40 at 10:43 a.m. in Kuwait City. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index (BGCC200), which tracks the biggest 200 companies in the Gulf, fell less than 0.1 percent.

Kuwait’s Capital Market Authority extended the period for investment companies to comply with guidelines for investment ratios in a single stock by six months to March 12, state-run KUNA news agency reported today, citing a statement by the authority. The delay is attributed to economic concerns and the “state” of the local stock exchange, the regulator said.

“They have postponed, so it’s more like a breather so local funds can comply with the rules,” Faisal Hasan, head of research at Global Investment House, said in a telephone interview in Kuwait City. “We will have to see what happens next. We need more clarity on the issue.”

The capital markets law, which places restrictions on investment funds, helped bring Kuwait’s benchmark index down 1.6 percent yesterday to the lowest level since September 2004. The regulation stipulates that investment funds may not own more than 10 percent of a publicly traded company, or invest more than 10 percent of the fund in one company.

National Bank of Kuwait rose the most since May 31 to 1,100 fils. Ithmaar Bank jumped 5.4 percent, poised for the biggest jump since May 10, to 19.50 fils.

Dubai’s DFM General Index (DFMGI) fell 0.9 percent. Qatar’s gauge lost 0.1 percent, while Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index (ADSMI) retreated 0.3 percent. Oman’s MSM30 Index (MSM30) dropped 0.2 percent and Bahrain’s measure was little changed.

To contact the reporters on this story: Fiona MacDonald in Kuwait at fmacdonald4@bloomberg.net; Alaa Shahine in Dubai at asalha@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

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