Muscat: The Omani stock market declined significantly this week, following other global markets in the negative territory, according to an analyst.
“The main index broke out of its range within which it stagnated for two months and recorded some volatility during that period but without seeing any clear direction in prices. Following this week’s trend, the market could be heading toward this year’s lows but could find some support at lower levels if traders move to buy the dip,” said Khaldoun Hilal, Chief Executive Officer of KAMA Capital.
While all sectors declined uniformly this week, the industry sector was the most affected and pared almost double the losses of the financial and services sectors. “Trading volumes and liquidity were greatly diminished compared to the previous week as traders retreated from the market. Further decreases in volumes could weigh on the market and pull prices further down,” he added.
Among individual stocks, only two stocks were able to record some gains this week. Bank stocks saw more limited losses than most others in other industries. “Overall, Bank Muscat dominated around half of volumes and value traded on the stock exchange this week with the financial sector dwarfing other sectors in regard to the number of shares traded,” Khaldoun Hilal said.
Concerns around global economic conditions and monetary policy affected sentiment on the market. Attention turned to China and the US as new economic data fueled volatility and uncertainty.
In the US, job market and non-manufacturing activity levels were better than expected, prompting concerns that the Federal Reserve could maintain its aggressive monetary policy. The data strengthened the case for higher interest rates for longer which continues to affect appetite for risk among investors.
“In this regard, Oman’s economy could be faced with higher costs of financing for longer than expected,” Khaldoun Hilal added.
In China, economic data remained weaker than expected with activity in the services sector slowing down faster than anticipated. Chinese imports continued to decline but less than forecast. In addition, increasing tensions with the US continued to affect global markets and traders’ sentiment.
“However, the Omani stock market could find some support in the developments in oil markets, which have seen prices rebound after Saudi Arabia and Russia announced the extension of their production cuts this week,” Khaldoun Hilal said. “While oil could be exposed to the developments in China and the US, it could continue to see prices climbing,” he added.