Kuwait index slumps to 8-year low
Kuwait, November 1, 2012
Intensifying political turmoil in Kuwait and violent protests triggered another stock market sell-off, dragging the index to its lowest level since August 2004.
The benchmark fell 1.9 percent to 5,658 points, breaking below the previous eight-year low hit in August this year.
"The political instability is directly impacting the short-term and long-term outlook for Kuwait," says Fouad Darwish, head of brokerage services at Global Investment House.
"In the past, we had day traders who were willing to gamble on a quick resolution of the political scene. But unfortunately, the problem is becoming fiercer and the opposition is becoming more vocal."
Kuwaiti police used teargas and smoke bombs on Wednesday night to disperse thousands of protesters marching on a prison where an opposition leader is being held on charges of insulting the emir, witnesses said.
The Ministry of Interior, in a statement on state news agency Kuna, said security services must intervene to disperse violent protests and arrest rioters.
Retail investor-dominated small-caps are hardest hit. Of the three most traded stocks, Gulf Investment House dropped 4.1 percent, Abyaar Real Estate fell 5.0 percent and Ithmaar Bank shed 5.0 percent. - Reuters