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Kuwait Stocks Rise Most Since April on Investment Rule Extension

July 19 (Bloomberg) -- Kuwaiti stocks advanced the most in three months after the country’s regulator extended a deadline for investment companies to comply with a capital markets law.

National Bank of Kuwait, the country’s largest lender, climbed the most in four months. Ithmaar Bank BSC, an Islamic investment bank, surged the most in more than two months. The benchmark SE Price Index rose 0.5 percent, the biggest gain since April 20, to 6,004.20 at the 12:30 p.m. close in Kuwait City. The Bloomberg GCC 200 Index, which tracks the biggest 200 companies in the Gulf, gained 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 3.7 percent, the biggest gain since March 21, to 1,120 fils. Ithmaar Bank jumped 5.4 percent, the most since May 10, to 19.50 fils.

Dubai’s DFM General Index and Qatar’s gauge fell 0.7 percent. Abu Dhabi’s ADX General Index retreated 0.4 percent. Oman’s MSM30 Index dropped 0.3 percent and Bahrain’s fell 0.1 percent. Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index rose 0.3 percent.

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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