Markaz Local Funds outperform their benchmarks for the month of March 2007


Kuwait Financial Centre “Markaz”, one of the leading investment banking and asset management companies in the Middle East, announced that its local funds outperformed against Kuwait Investment Company (KIC) index which posted 7.4% for the month of March and 7.8% since the beginning of the year. The returns of Markaz Fund for Excellent Yields "Mumtaz", a winner of two Lipper – Reuters funds awards 2007, reached 8.8% for the month of March and 16.8% since the beginning of the year; while Markaz Investment & Development Fund "MIDAF" reached 7.6% for the month of March and 12.3% since the beginning of the year. Performance of the market will be positively affected by the expected strong Q1 2007 financial results, unless developments arise on the Iran's nuclear issue. Markaz Islamic Fund performed at 8.6% in March, and 12.5% since the beginning of the, outperforming the Al Mal Sharia Index by 3.9% since the beginning of the year. Investors' optimism about the coming period was reflected on the options market in record breaking number of trades and volume traded in March daily. Markaz Forsa Financial Fund, a fund that invests in the options market, returned 7.4% for the month of March. Two of the main factors affecting the KIC Index in March are the sale of 51% of its stake in Wataniya to Qtel-Qatar by KIPCO Holding and its subsidiaries, and the winning of the third and last mobile telecommunications license in Saudi Arabia by Mobile Telecommunication Company (MTC). "All sectors in Kuwait Stock Exchange were positively affected by the major events witnessed in the market in March, breaking the records by achieving the highest trading value in one day in the history of the market which reached KD 227 million; an indicator of good liquidity. Selective stock picking is clearly evident. The exceptional market performance in the last month brings to our memory “the period after the fall of the Iraqi regime in 2004" said Amani Al Omani – Vice President, Local and GCC Investment Department, Markaz. Al Omani added "Although the market went down marginally towards the month end due to the Anglo Iranian tension, we believe that March's performance was exceptional". Al Omani concluded "Our forecasts confirm that the positive market vibe will continue especially after the completion of announcement of the Q1 financial results of listed companies". Kuwait Financial Centre S.A.K 'Markaz', with total assets under management of over KD. 1.2 billion as of December 31, 2006 was established in 1974, and has become one of the leading asset management and investment banking institutions in the Arabian Gulf Region. Markaz was listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) in 1997; and was awarded a BBB+ corporate rating by Capital Intelligence Ltd. -Ends- Photo Caption: Amani Al Omani – Vice President, Local & GCC Investments