TWO BANK MUSCAT FUNDS OUTPERFORM BENCHMARKS

Muscat: Two Bank Muscat mutual funds, Oryx Fund and Muscat Fund, outperformed their benchmark indices in the first nine months of 2014.

Oryx Fund, which is focussed on regional markets, continued its strong performance with a return of 42.3 per cent, against the 20.1 per cent gain of its regional benchmark index. Oryx Fund also maintained its position as one of the best performing MENA-focussed funds in the region, achieving this on account of better stock selection.

The fund’s net profit rose to RO2.57mn during the first nine months this year, compared with RO1.83mn in the same period of 2013.

In its investment manager’s report, Oryx Fund said that in July unit holders approved widening the scope of the fund to companies listed in MENA region, whereas past investments were limited to GCC countries. “This change is expected to contribute positively to fund performance,” the report said.

“The news flow from regional companies remained positive and continues to be driven by good earnings announcements,” the fund said.

“Higher earnings growth across most regional companies may provide further support to markets. The fund will continue to follow a bottom-up stock selection approach to capture opportunities and maintain outperformance,” the report added.

Bank Muscat’s Muscat Fund, which is mostly domestic market-centric, generated a total return of 12.5 per cent for the first nine months of this year, against the benchmark MSM30 index’s gain of 9.5 per cent.

“The fund has benefited from good allocations in large-cap banking and high dividend paying stocks,” Muscat Fund said in its investment manager’s report.

The fund’s net profit, however, declined to RO773,000 from RO1.13mn a year ago. It said that with increased focus on the region, good fundamentals and relatively cheaper valuations of frontline stocks in Oman may attract foreign inflows.

SOURCE: MUSCAT DAILY