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GULF MARKETS REBOUND A BIT AFTER SLIDE BECAUSE OF SAUDI GRAFT INQUIRY

Gulf stock markets rebounded slightly on Thursday after a jittery week in which most dropped because of concern about Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption purge, which could reduce Saudi fund flows to the region.

The Saudi stock index spent most of the day lower before closing 0.3 percent higher. Similar trading patterns were seen every day this week after authorities announced the arrest of dozens of senior officials and businessmen in the investigation and froze over 1,700 domestic bank accounts. Wealthy Saudi individuals, fearful that they could be implicated in the probe, have been dumping stocks to raise cash, in some cases intending to move the money out of the country. This has pushed the market down in intra-day trade but state-linked funds have bought stocks in order to prevent a panic, pushing the market back up towards the close. Advancing stocks outnumbered decliners by 131 to 42 on Thursday. Real estate developer Dar Al Arkan, the most heavily traded stock, jumped its 10 percent daily limit in its heaviest trade since July after reporting third-quarter net profit almost doubled from a year ago to 209.6 million riyals ($55.9 million), as sales more than doubled. In a sign that the impact of the corruption crackdown might be fading, stocks in companies related to people implicated in it regained some strength. Al Tayyar Travel, whose founder Nasser bin Aqeel al-Tayyar has been arrested, rose 2.7 percent after plunging 22 percent in the previous three days. Most other Gulf bourses rose after slipping this week because of fears the probe would prompt wealthy Saudis to pull money out of local stock and real estate markets. Dubai’s index gained 1.0 percent as real estate developers, which sank earlier this week, recovered. Emaar Properties added 1.3 percent and DAMAC Properties gained 5.0 percent.

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WALL STREET FALLS ON WORRIES OVER DELAYS IN TAX-CUT GRAPH

The S&P and the Nasdaq were on track to post their biggest one-day percentage losses in about two weeks as doubts on whether Republican would be a able to pulloff their promised tax-cut plan weighed on the markets. A US Senate tax-cut bill, different from one already in the House of Representatives, was expected to be unveiled on Thursday, complicating the tax overhaul push by the Trump administration.

The S&P 500 has risen about 21 percent since the election of President Donald Trump a year ago, partly on the back of his promises to cut taxes and other business-friendly measures. However, Republicans are yet to score a major legislative win since Trump took office in January, even though the party controls both chambers of Congress as well as the White House. There is continuing confusion over the possibility of tax cuts being meaningful and passing this year. At the end of the day some version will get passed but it will be watered down. There is too much resistance from special interest groups and budget hawks and there is a fear that the tax cuts will be in name only.

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At 11:04 a.m. ET (1504 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 83.82 points, or 0.36 percent, at 23,479.54, the S&P 500 was down 9.07 points, or 0.34 percent, at 2,585.31. The Nasdaq Composite was down 33.54 points, or 0.49 percent, at 6,755.58. Nine of the 11 major S&P sectors were lower, with the technology index’s 0.84 percent loss leading the decliners. Technology has been the best performing S&P sector so far this year with a 37 percent rise, despite concerns of stretched valuations.

PSX POSTS BULLISH MOVEMENT

The Pakistan Stock Exchange was bullish on Wednesday. The KSE-100 Index closed today at 41259.16 points as compared to 41049.22 points yesterday with a positive change of 209.94 points.

The total turnover was 97,376,210 as compared 106,587,860 yesterday with Sui South Gas reflecting the highest turnover of 8,789,000. The total 378 companies’ transacted shares in the Stock Market. Out of which 205 recorded gains and 137 sustained losses whereas the share price of 36 companies remained unchanged. Colgate Palmolive recorded the maximum increase in its share price, which was 110.00 rupees while Khyber Tobacco XD recorded maximum decrease that was 58.46 rupees.

BRAZIL SHARES FALL AS CORPORATE UPDATES TRIGGER PROFIT-TAKING

Brazilian stocks fell on Thursday after a batch of weak corporate updates triggered profit-taking on gains from the previous day’s rally. The benchmark Bovespa stock index fell 1.3 percent after rising the most in a month on Wednesday. Lender Banco do Brasil SA and petrochemical company Braskem SA also dropped in the wake of quarterly earnings figures.

The move came in a week of heightened volatility as uncertainty grew over President Michel Temer’s efforts to streamline the social security system. The Brazilian real firmed 0.2 percent, seesawing in line with other Latin American currencies. Both the Colombian peso rose 0.1 percent. The Mexican peso was nearly flat as investors avoided big bets ahead of a central bank interest rate decision. Mexico’s annual inflation rate quickened slightly in October, making an interest-rate cut even less likely at a central bank meeting later in the day.

SRI LANKAN SHARES SLIP

Sri Lankan shares closed lower on Thursday before the presentation of the national budget, where the South Asian island nation imposed new taxes on motor vehicles, telecoms, banks and liquor in a bid to boost revenues. The budget deficit for the current year slipped to 5.2 percent of gross domestic product.

The Colombo stock index closed 0.47 percent weaker at 6,567.07, its lowest close since Sept. 15. Turnover was 1.56 billion rupees ($10.16 million), more than this year’s average of around 952.4 million rupees. Investors waited for the budget.

Some expected measures negative to stocks. But we have not seen any such measures. Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Wednesday announced tax concessions worth a monthly 1.5 billion rupees ($9.8 million) to reduce the cost of living and boost consumption. Shares in Hatton National Bank lost 1.9 percent, while large cap Nestle Lanka Plc closed 1.2 percent weaker. Foreign investors sold shares worth net 32.8 billion rupees in the session, but they have been net buyers of shares worth 18.1 billion rupees so far this year.

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TOKYO SHARES CLOSE LOWER AS YEN FIRMS

Tokyo stocks closed lower on Thursday with early gains wiped out as the yen edged up against the dollar.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.20 percent, or 45.11 points, to end at 22,868.71. The broader Topix index was down 0.25 percent or 4.49 points at 1,813.11. The dollar slipped to 113.60 yen in late afternoon trade in Tokyo, down from above the 114 yen level earlier Thursday and 113.87 yen reached in New York on Wednesday. Markets are awaiting fresh factors… and are closely watching the fate of US tax reform. Trade was mixed with some individual shares moving dramatically on earnings reports. Electronic parts maker Minebea Mitsumi surged 9.55 percent to 2,419 yen after it revised its annual profit forecast upwards. But Sumitomo Rubber Industries dropped 7.21 percent to 1,992 yen after it reported a near 30-percent fall in operating profit in the first half to September. Bridgestone closed down 3.23 percent at 5,417 yen ahead of its earnings reports after the market close. Meanwhile, Toshiba closed 2.49 percent lower at 313 yen, after the troubled Japanese conglomerate said it logged a net loss of 49.7 billion yen ($436 million) for the fiscal first half, as it moves to complete the multi-billion-dollar sale of its chip business to restore its balance sheet.

EBIX, BSE INK MOU TO LAUNCH JV FOR INSURANCE DISTRIBUTION NETWORK

Nasdaq-listed Ebix Inc and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to set up a joint venture to develop an insurance distribution network in India. BSE Investments Limited, a 100 per cent subsidiary of BSE and Ebix Fincorp Exchange Pte Ltd, a 100 percent subsidiary of Ebix on Thursday signed this MoU, with the goal of revolutionizing end-to-end sales and processing of insurance in the country. The new venture to be branded as BSE-Ebix intends to deploy an insurance distribution exchange platform that will allow distribution outlets, stock brokers, wealth management advisors and financial institutions etc. across the length and breadth of the country to sell life and non-life products. The venture will utilize the distribution reach of both BSE and Ebix that spans more than 2 lakh outlets across the country.

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