Oman Index Rises to 6-Month High on Bank Outlook; Dubai Falls

Oman shares advanced to the highest in almost six months led by Bank Muscat SAOG on speculation the lender’s full-year results will beat estimates after third-quarter profit climbed. Dubai shares retreated.

Bank Muscat, Oman’s biggest bank by assets, rose 1.1 percent. The MSM30 Index advanced 0.6 percent to 6,620.55, the highest since May 16, at the 1 p.m. close in Muscat, bringing the weekly gain to 1.6 percent. Dubai’s index fell 0.9 percent as Union Properties PJSC slumped 4 percent after its third-quarter loss almost tripled. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index lost 0.2 percent.

“Investors are building up positions on expectations of improved performance of banking majors, namely Bank Muscat and National Bank of Oman during this quarter,” said Kanaga Sundar, senior manager of research at Gulf Baader Capital Markets SAOC.

Bank Muscat, the company with the heaviest weighting on Oman’s gauge, increased to 0.909 rial, the highest since September 2008. The lender will benefit from the second round of quantitative easing, or asset purchases by the Federal Reserve, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a report last week.

Bank Muscat on Oct. 14 reported a 26 percent increase in third-quarter profit to 25.2 million rials ($65 million), helped by higher income from lending and fees.

National Bank of Oman, the sultanate’s second-biggest by assets, rose 1.7 percent to 0.37 rial, the highest since January 2009. Third-quarter profit jumped 16 percent to 7.09 million rials, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Crude Climbs

Crude for December delivery increased as much as 0.9 percent to $88.63 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council supply about a fifth of the world’s oil.

Dubai’s index fell to 1,691.65, the lowest since Oct. 5. The gauge declined 2.7 percent this week.

U.A.E. and Qatar’s stock markets will close from Nov. 15 and resume trading on Nov. 21 to mark Islam’s Eid al-Adha holiday. Kuwait will close from Nov. 14 to Nov. 18 and Bahrain will shut from Nov. 16 to Nov. 18.

“Locally, investors are reluctant to take risks before a prolonged holiday,” said Paul Cooper, managing director at Sarasin-Alpen & Partners Ltd. in Dubai, which oversees more than $500 million in the Middle East. “There is some fundamental justification to this given some poor third-quarter results in the United Arab Emirates.” Union Properties, Dubai’s third-largest real-estate developer by market value, slumped the most since June 1 to 40.7 fils after its third-quarter loss widened to 451.8 million dirhams ($123 million) as revenue from property management and sales fell. Air Arabia PJSC fell 1 percent to 79.1 fils after third-quarter profit dropped 5.6 percent.

Kuwait’s gauge fell 0.7 percent and Abu Dhabi’s measure slipped 0.1 percent. Bahrain’s gauge rose 0.2 percent. Saudi Arabia’s market was closed for the weekend.

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