Blue chips buoy Saudi bourse

21/03/2009 00:00 AST

Saudi shares rebounded last week after a series of losses that lasted for four weeks. The upward trend was led by blue chips, particularly in the petrochemical sector.

The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) climbed 6.54 percent last week to close at 4,400.21 points.

TASI is currently 8.39 percent lower than the year’s start.

The weekly report of the Riyadh-based Bakheet Investment Group (BIG) attributed the rebound mainly to the “significant gains scored by US stocks since March 9 and the positive reports about the performance of the US financial sector in January and February, which boosted the sentiment of recovery of the world economy by the end of 2009.”

BIG expected the Saudi stock market to “fluctuate narrowly” following last week’s gains.

“However, investors will be eying the upcoming corporate results of listed companies for the first quarter to have a clear outlook regarding their performance under the current economic conditions,” the BIG report said.

The stock market turnover also increased to SR18.43 billion last week compared to SR16.32 billion in the previous week.

Meanwhile, Etihad Atheeb Telecommunication Company, the second licensed fixed-line operator, is set to make debut on Tadawul today.

The Capital Market Authority (CMA) announced earlier that the listing and trading of Etihad Atheeb would take place today within the Telecommunication & Information Technology Sector with an unrestricted price limit for the first day of trading only.

Etihad Atheeb launched in January an initial public offering (IPO) to sell 30 percent of its shares at SR10 a share for a total value of SR300 million.

Arab stock markets reacted positively last week to good news coming from Wall Street and other global markets as well as to rising oil prices, financial analysts said yesterday.

However, they expected regional markets to move sideways in the coming weeks as investors monitor the first quarter results and world developments.

“I believe regional markets have been affected by rises at the Wall Street and other global bourses as well as by optimistic news about the US economy and hopes attached to the G-20 summit in London in April,” Wajdi Makhamreh, chief operating officer at the Amman-based Sanabel International Holding, said.

“We think that this week’s improvement of oil prices and the rising demand for crude will reflect positively on Arab stock markets particularly in the Gulf area,” he said.

Jordanian shares also scored gains last week buoyed by improved liquidity due to the central bank’s instructions to commercial banks to ease credit squeeze.

There have also been reports about new liquidity pumped into the market by Iraqi investors following moves by the government to ease entry and residence restrictions for Iraqi businessmen.

The all-share price index of the Amman Stock Exchange gained 1.38 percent last week, closing at 2,631 points, according to the ASE weekly report.

Kuwait’s KSE all-share price index gained 2 percent last week, to close at 6,684 points. The United Arab Emirates stock exchange of Dubai closed week higher, gaining 1.9 percent and closing at 1,533 points. Egypt’s AGX-30 index, which measures the performance of the market’s 30 most active stocks, surged 7.2 percent to close week at 3,967 points.

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