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MENAFN - Arab News - 09/04/2006

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JEDDAH, 9 April 2006 — The Saudi stock market recovered slightly at the close as a glitch marred trading yesterday.

The market extended morning trading by one hour after it had frozen transactions for more than one hour to recalculate the Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) after a 5-1 share split in the telecom and banking sectors.

Trading in the four banks to remain on hold until today. They are Al-Rajhi Bank, the third-largest listed firm, Saudi Hollandi Bank, Samba Financial Group and Bank AlJazira.

"There were wrong calculations in shares that were split over the weekend (Thursday and Friday) which has led to the fall in the index," Capital Market Authority (CMA) spokesman Abdulaziz Alzoom told Reuters.

Shares of the Saudi Investment Bank (SAIB) climbed 6.8 percent to SR145 after it posted a 156-percent higher first-quarter net profit. SAIB said yesterday its first-quarter net profit jumped to SR540 million from the same period in 2005.

Banking services income rose 172 percent to SR265.9 million after loans rose 30.1 percent to SR19.8 billion against a 22.3 percent rise in deposits at SR29.3 billion, SAIB said in a statement posted on the bourse website.

Return on shareholders' equity reached 40.1 percent at the end of March and the bank's investment portfolio rose 36.5 percent to SR11.1 billion. The bank said it would open 10 new branches by mid-2006.

After it erroneously opened more than 45 percent lower, the TASI closed 65.89 points or 0.37 percent higher at 17,730.96 points yesterday. "It appears that someone has mistakenly correlated the share split on banks and telecoms to the index," a senior trader said.

Due to glitch the index plunged by 8,017.14 points in the morning session from Wednesday's close at 17,665.07 points. The market was closed on Thursday to complete the share split of the two sectors.

Out of 79 shares traded, 62 were higher while 13 declined yesterday.

The market turnover, however, reached SR16.25 billion.

Saudi Telecom Co. (STC), Saudi Electricity Co. (SEC) and the largest listed firm, Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), were the most actively traded stocks yesterday.

Over SR1.46 billion worth of STC shares changed hands yesterday, followed SEC by over SR1 billion.

The top gainers for the day were Saudi Arabia Refineries Co. (10 percent), Saudi Advanced Industries Co. (10 percent), Saudi Ceramic Co. (9.98 percent), Filling & Packing Materials Manufacturing Co. (9.98 percent), Aldrees Petroleum & Transport Services Co. (9.98 percent) and Food Products Co. (9.96 percent).

Most of the trade was on industrial stocks, which are to undergo the share split next Thursday. SABIC shares closed 0.19 percent lower at SR1.547. SEC shares jumped 3.25 percent to close at SR151. STC shares added 1.38 percent to SR239.25 while private mobile phone operator Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) fell 2.24 percent to SR142.

The Insurance index was down as shares of the National Company for Cooperative Insurance dropped 2.80 percent at SR199.25, as all other indexes edged higher yesterday.

The cement and agriculture stocks were in positive territory yesterday.


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