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MENAFN - Arab News - 12/08/2007

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(MENAFN - Arab News) JEDDAH, 12 August 2007 — The Saudi stock market fell only slightly yesterday despite the heavy losses in the global stock markets on Thursday and Friday amid fears of widening economic crisis. The local market was closed on Thursday and Friday for regular holidays.

After rising 2.34 percent last week, the Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) declined slightly 4.65 points to 7,710.97 yesterday. TASI is still down 2.80 percent so far this year.

Experts, however, wonder whether the global meltdown will have a ripple effect on the Saudi economy and an extension on the stock market.

Out of 98 stocks traded, 44 were in positive territory while shares of 30 companies dropped. Over SR6.39 billion worth of shares changed hands yesterday.

The banking index was down 7.34 points as shares of major banks fell yesterday, with the exception of Banque Saudi Fransi and SABB which edged higher by 1.45 percent and 2.67 percent, respectively.

Malath Cooperative Insurance and Reinsurance Co. was the top gainer as its shares jumped 10 percent to close at SR71.50 yesterday. The Mediterranean & Gulf Insurance & Reinsurance Co. (MedGulf) shares gained 5.39 percent to SR44.

According to a report in a local newspaper, when there is an unjustifiable rise in the stock prices, the Capital Market Authority (CMA), the stock market regulator, demands an explanation from the companies. The stereotype reply from the companies is that "the company has no important development or information or any thing that concerns the shareholders currently. Last month about seven companies replied in the above stated manner though the shares of these companies were showing a tendency to rise steeply. Six of such companies were in the insurance sector in July. All the companies are new and they could not have generated any important developments.

This also makes one wonder if such inquiries for the CMA has any use. The only loser in the insurance sector yesterday was Saudi United Cooperative Insurance Co. (Walaa Insurance) as shares dropped 1.43 percent to SR69.

Shares in Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) fell 0.36 percent to SR68.75 and Etihad Etisalat by 1.15 percent to SR64.50.

Shares in Saudi Real Estate Co. dropped 5.81 percent to SR40.50. Shares in the newly listed Kingdom Holding Co. also fell 2.08 percent to SR11.75.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) shares declined slightly to SR124.75.

Meanwhile, the board of directors of Anaam International Holding Group Co. has submitted an application to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to assign a date in holding an extraordinary meeting of the general body as the first step toward a reentry to the bourse. The company's trading in the Saudi stock market was suspended eight months ago. The company has also expressed willingness to reduce capital from SR1.2 billion to SR109 million and its shares from 120 million to 10.9 million.


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