Markaz Local Investments Funds Continues to Outperform Their Respective Benchmarks YTD


Markaz Fund for Excellent Yields 'Mumtaz' posted 10.6% by end of April 2008 Kuwait Financial Centre S.A.K. “Markaz”, one of the leading investment banking and asset management companies in the Middle East, announced the performance for its local funds in April 2008, with all funds outperforming their respective benchmarks. KIC Index ended April 2008 scoring -0.52% and 4.36% YTD, Al-Madar Shari'a Index posted -1.6% MTD and 2.9% YTD. Markaz Fund for Excellent Yields 'Mumtaz', a winner of three Lipper – Reuters funds awards, achieved 10.6% YTD. The returns of Markaz Investment & Development Fund "MIDAF" reached 5.2% YTD. Markaz Islamic Fund, a winner of a Lipper – Reuters funds award, posted 7.7% YTD. As a result of the market, the above-mentioned funds posted a slight decline in April, with (0.3%), (1.6%), and (0.7%) respectively. Forsa Financial Fund, a market maker fund that invests in the options market, returned approx. 1.0% for the month of April. Amani Al-Omani, Senior Vice President- Local and GCC Investments at Markaz commented on the month’s performance saying "The price index and the weighted index took opposite trends during April. While the price index reached a historical high of 14,780 points, the weighted index retreated by 0.52%. This difference is primarily due to the last minutes closings, particularly on some medium and small caps". Al-Omani continued "Local banks announced their first quarter 2008 profits, which grew by 27% compared to the same period of last year. However, the market did not welcome these announcements, given the fact that the market has not yet seen the full effect of the concerns over the impact of the recent resolutions of the Central Bank of Kuwait, on organizing the consumer loans, as well as on trading real estate properties". Al-Omani mentioned some of other significant influential factors saying “Furthermore, the general circumstances surrounding the market lead to a conservative attitude, particularly with the rising dispute between KSE Management and the group of 61 companies, which has now risen to over 80. The latest major companies that joined the group were National Industries Group companies. From a political perspective, a “watch & see” attitude is inevitable, pending the results of the parliamentary elections, especially after implementing the five-constituency system”. On the Options Market, Al-Omani commented “Despite of the slight decline witnessed in KSE, the Options Market maintained its positive performance, with traded volumes for this month amounting to 58,934,000 shares distributed on 1339 deals with a total value of KD 1,861,265. We expect more trades in the Options Market, given the greater attention this new market is attracting and its excellent performance”. Kuwait Financial Centre S.A.K. 'Markaz', with total assets under management of over KD. 1.3 billion as of 31 December 2007, 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 – Senior Vice President, Local & GCC Investments, Markaz.