Global equity markets performed negatively during the week as a sharp decline in oil prices and Q1 2020 earnings weighed on investor sentiments. The economic data during the week also confirmed a sharp slowdown as most of the conomies continue to remain in lockdown.
Moreover, the gains in previous two weeks might have also prompted investors to consolidate gains in wake of deepening economic slowdown. Oil prices also played a role in triggering market volatility as May WTI oil futures contract fell into negative territory before expiring, while the June contract dropped to record lows during the week.
For the regional markets, a similar trend was observed during the week with 4 out of the 7 regional indexes closing in red, while 3 closed in green. Oman was the worst performing index regionally with losses of 1.62%, followed by 0.41% in Bahrain. Abu Dhabi was the best performing index with gains of 2.36%, followed by 1.68% in Dubai, and 0.17% in Kuwait.
Going forward, progress on the fight against COVID-19 will continue to drive sentiments, especially as some of the countries are expected to ease restrictions gradually in the coming weeks. Investors are appearing to be brave amid all the negativity as they are finding comfort from number of claims in the US declining for the third consecutive week and hopes of further stimulus support from the policymakers to boost liquidity.
For the region, the movement in oil prices does not seem to have a significant impact on trading activity, but investors will keep a close watch in the coming weeks to assess the effect on domestic economies. Overall, investors should remain cautious and wait for economies to normalize to be able to gauge the pace of economic recovery going forward.