DIFX rebrands and launches derivative trading



The Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) rebranded itself as Nasdaq Dubai yesterday in an attempt to encourage new listings and investors in difficult times. Nasdaq OMX Group, the world's largest exchange company, will also list its shares on Nasdaq Dubai from tomorrow. The launch of a much anticipated derivatives market has also been confirmed for today. "As the international stock exchange serving this region, Nasdaq Dubai acts as a capital markets gateway for investors all over the world, including and especially in this region," said Soud Ba'alawy, the chairman of Nasdaq Dubai and a director of Nasdaq OMX Group, which owns a one third stake in the newly rebranded exchange. Essa Kazim, the chairman of Borse Dubai and Dubai Financial Market (DFM), added that the initiative was extremely important in contributing to the development of capital markets in the region. "The markets have changed over the past few months, but our commitment to doing what is best for this region has not," said Jeffrey Singer, the chief executive of Nasdaq Dubai, in reference to the financial crisis affecting plans for the exchange. Analysts, although lauding the positive move towards needed financial reform, are sceptical that the changes will jump-start listings on the exchange. "It's still not the best environment for a company to list, but it is the best time for regulators to make improvements," said Mohieddine Kronfol, the managing director of Algebra Capital. The makeover of the exchange is meant to provide Gulf investors with access to the 3,900 companies listed on the Nasdaq OMX, according to Robert Greifeld, the chief executive of Nasdaq OMX and vice chairman of Nasdaq Dubai. "With the relationship between Nasdaq OMX and Nasdaq Dubai, investors in the Gulf region will have the opportunity to invest in these companies where appropriate, and these companies should look to the Gulf region and Dubai as a method to raise capital," said Mr Greifeld. He said that 29 companies, including Cisco Systems, Citigold Corporation and Damas had expressed a "clear and tangible interest in this market". However, a lack of liquidity is still an issue for the exchange. "Liquidity is an issue not just for Nasdaq Dubai, but across all markets in the GCC; policymakers should make deepening financial markets a top priority," said Mr Kronfol. Nasdaq Dubai will be open to derivatives trading today as well, enabling members to trade single stock futures on UAE-listed equities and a future on the FTSE/DIFX UAE 20 equity index calculated by FTSE International. The derivatives platform will be launched in a difficult financial period, although Mr Singer countered that the financial crisis should not delay a launch that has been planned for months. He added that previously, problems associated with derivatives were the result of over-the-counter (OTC) trading. "Now, derivatives trading will be regulated, transparent and Nasdaq Dubai will be behind each of the transactions; these are three key differences that don't exist for OTC, so we are taking a fundamentally different approach," he said. "In the context of providing investors in the market with more tools, the provision of derivatives and other well regulated and transparent securities is generally a step in the right direction," said Mr Kronfol. shamdan@thenational.ae

MO

Creators: Mohammed Amer, Ramy Youssef

Stars: Mohammed Amer, Teresa Ruiz, Omar Elba

Rating: 4/5

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

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Engine 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder

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The Specs

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COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Carzaty, now Kavak
Based: Dubai
Launch year: Carzaty launched in 2018, Kavak in the GCC launched in 2022
Number of employees: 140
Sector: Automotive
Funding: Carzaty raised $6m in equity and $4m in debt; Kavak plans $130m investment in the GCC

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champioons League semi-final, first leg:

Liverpool 5
Salah (35', 45+1'), Mane (56'), Firmino (61', 68')

Roma 2
Dzeko (81'), Perotti (85' pen)

Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Company profile

Name: Infinite8

Based: Dubai

Launch year: 2017

Number of employees: 90

Sector: Online gaming industry

Funding: $1.2m from a UAE angel investor

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

The specs

Engine: 6-cylinder, 4.8-litre
Transmission: 5-speed automatic and manual
Power: 280 brake horsepower
Torque: 451Nm
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Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed


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