Muscat: The MSM 30 Index declined by 0.15 per cent to close at 6,923.11 points. MSM Shariah Index also closed lower at 1,056.69 points, down by 0.06 per cent. Bank Sohar was the most active in terms of volume as well as turnover. With gains of 1.28 per cent, HSBC Bank Oman was the top gainer, while Galfar Engineering which declined by 4.12 per cent, was the top loser.
Altogether 715 trades were executed in yesterday's session generating a turnover of OMR10.53 million with over 30.35 million shares traded. Out of 44 traded stocks, 10 advanced, 11 declined and 23 remained unchanged.
Foreign investors were net buyers to the tune of OMR949,000 worth of shares, while Omani investors were net sellers at OMR690,000 followed by GCC& Arab investors, which sold shares amounting to OMR259,000.
Financial Sector Index closed at 8,356.86 points, down by 0.06%. HSBC Bank Oman, Oman & Emirates Holding, Tageer Finance and Al Anwar Holding increased by 1.28 per cent, 0.82 per cent, 0.69 per cent and 0.55 per cent respectively. DBIH, Global Finance and Investments, Ahli Bank, Ominvest and Bank Sohar declined by 0.98 per cent, 0.70 per cent, 0.56 per cent, 0.52 per cent and 0.42 per cent respectively.
Industrial Sector Index declined 0.42 per cent to close at 10,205.73 points. Majan Glass, Gulf International Chemicals and Raysut Cement increased by 1.14 per cent, 0.43 per cent and 0.25 per cent respectively. Galfar Engineering and Al Jazeera Steel declined by 4.12 per cent and 0.45 per cent respectively. Services Sector Index closed at 3,672.08 points, down by 0.10 per cent.
Sembcorp Salalah and National Gas increased by 0.50 per cent and 0.49 per cent respectively. OIFC and Omantel declined by 0.65 per cent and 0.62 per cent respectively.
Arabtec Holding headed for its biggest three-day rout since March 2013 as some investors speculated Aabar Investments, its second-largest investor, is cutting its stake in the Dubai builder.
The shares slid 10 per cent, the maximum allowed in one day, to Dh4.88 at the close in Dubai, the lowest in more than two months. Dubai's DFM General Index dropped 1.6 per cent to 4,693.20, the lowest since May 20. Arabtec doesn't comment on market rumours, its public relations department said by text message. An Aabar spokesman didn't reply to a phone call and an e-mailed request for comment.
"The widespread rumors are that Aabar is selling its stake," Wadah Al Taha, chief investment officer of Dubai-based Al Zarooni, said by phone. "There's intense pressure on the stock."
Abu Dhabi-controlled Aabar owns 21.57 per cent of Arabtec through its energy, petroleum and real estate investment units, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The current decline began June 8 after the United Arab Emirates' central bank said rental yields in Dubai and Abu Dhabi had fallen below historical averages as real estate prices rose, indicating the market may be imbalanced.
The company is trading at an estimated price-to-earnings ratio of 38-times, compared to 16 times for Dubai's index. Chief executive officer Hasan Ismaik tripled his holding to 28.84 per cent, data shows, helping the shares rally 138 per cent so far this year.
"The retail investors took the stock to a very high level so now, with a correction in the overall market, Arabtec will definitely be affected, and rumors in the market are igniting the sell off," Of the 14 analysts who cover Arabtec, none recommend investors buy the shares.