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MENAFN - Arab News - 17/02/2007

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(MENAFN - Arab News) The Saudi stock market continued to surge last week after rising over 4 percent the previous week. The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) climbed 7.55 percent last week, closing at 7,881.55 points. TASI is still 0.65 percent lower than the year's start.

The Riyadh-based Bakheet Financial Advisors' (BFA's) weekly report said: "The soaring was fuelled by a number of positive factors, including good performance by blue chip firms and the banking sector, which was the major driving force behind last week's rise."

The Saudi banking sector index climbed by 12 percent.

The BFA expected the rebound to continue this week, but cautioned that the market could witness a "limited profit-taking".

Meanwhile, a BFA analyst, Hesham Abu Jamea said yesterday that he believed the Saudi market "had bottomed out at the end of 2006". He expected the TASI to continue its rise and could reach as high as 9,000 points later this year.

Abdullah Katib, an analyst, said the index would hit 8,000 points within a few days, given the present upward trend of the market. He said the market could reach 8,200 points soon as a result of outstanding performance by leading players such as Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), Al-Rajhi Bank and Samba.

SABIC shares edged higher 4.75 percent last week to SR115.75.

National Gypsum Co. shares jumped 31.70 percent last week to SR114.25, followed by Saudi Arabia Refineries Co. (SARCO) by 31.66 percent to SR368, Etihad Etisalat by 26.51 percent to SR52.50, Samba Financial Group by 19.69 percent to SR155 and Bank AlJazira by 16.31 percent to SR121.25. Saudi Industrial Development Co. was the top loser last week as its shares dropped 6.41 to SR18.25.

The stock market turnover, however, dropped to SR49 billion last week from SR55.49 billion in the previous week.

Saudi Fisheries was most active by value last week as over SR4 billion of its shares changed hands, followed by Al-Rajhi Bank at SR2.25 billion, AlAbdullatif Industrial Investment Co. at SR2.08 billion, Al-Baha Investment & Development Co. at SR2.07 billion and Eastern Agriculture at SR1.55 billion.

The Saudi Electricity Co. (SEC) most active by volume last week at 80,065,822. SEC shares rose over 4 percent last week to SR12.75.

Arab stock markets steadied last week as investors drew optimistic conclusions from annual results and financial analysts said yesterday they expected regional bourses to gather momentum in the coming few weeks, buoyed by blue chip performance, particularly the banking sector. "I believe an optimistic mood is emerging in regional markets after a series of plunges that pushed prices to low levels where they provided buying opportunities," an Amman-based portfolio manager told Arab News.

"We believe that a robust Saudi stock exchange rebound this week will have its positive impact on other regional shares particularly in the Gulf area," he said.

Jordanian shares continued their strong performance for the four weeks in a row last week, propelled by blue chips that posted better-than-expected results in 2006, portfolio managers said.

The all-share price index of the Amman Stock Exchange gained 2.15 percent last week, closing at 6,334.62 points, according to the ASE weekly report.

"We believe the market is set for new highs amid reports of strong demand both local and foreign," Nizar Taher, head of brokerage at the Jordan Ahli Bank, said.

"The market's adamantly large trading volumes motivate us to believe that we are going to witness new highs ahead," he said.

Kuwaiti stocks moved sideways last week as the market's watchdog adopted punitive measures against 25 firms for their failure to abide by revelations standards. The KSE all-share price index moved up marginally, closing last week at 9,643 points compared with previous week's close at 9,632 points.

The unified all-share price index of the United Arab Emirates stock exchanges of Dubai and Abu Dhabi gained 0.5 percent last week, closing at 4,049 points up from 4,028 points in the previous week

The GulfBase GCC index was also higher by 4 percent last week at 4,931. Last week only Qatar index was down 2.85 percent, while all other indices ended in a positive territory.

According to GulfBase.com, the value of traded shares in the GCC markets reached 15.79 billion last week, down 7.87 percent from the previous week.


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