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MENAFN - Arab News - 25/08/2007

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(MENAFN - Arab News) The Saudi stock market continued its strong performance for the third week in a row, propelled by leading stocks particularly the Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), Al-Rajhi Bank and the Saudi Telecom Co. (STC).

The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) gained 2.38 percent last week, closing at 8,089.09 points, the highest this year, up from 7,900.88 points in the previous week.

TASI is currently 2.0 percent higher than the year's start.

Al-Rajhi Bank's shares edged higher by 5.65 percent to SR88.75, while STC recorded 3.56 percent to SR72.75 and SABIC by 3.32 percent to SR132.25 last week. Etihad Etisalat's shares also surged 6.74 percent to SR71.25.

The insurance sector also dominated trading last week with the debut of Alahli Takaful Company (ATC) on Tadawul on Saturday. ATC shares jumped 997.50 percent on the first day of trading. For the week, ATC shares gained 1,502.50 percent to SR160.25.

Shares in other insurance companies the Mediterranean & Gulf Insurance & Reinsurance Co. (MedGulf) increased 20.89 percent to SR68 and Malath Cooperative Insurance and Reinsurance Company by 18.91 percent to SR119.50 last week.

Shares in Saudia Dairy & Foodstuff Co. soared 32.62 percent to SR62 and Saudi Printing & Packaging Co. by 14.81 percent to SR54.25.

Emaar the Economic City shares dropped over 3 percent to SR15.75, Riyad Bank by 3 percent to SR56.50 and Arab National Bank by 2.52 percent to SR77.50.

The stock market turnover also increased to SR52.56 billion compared to SR41.12 billion in the previous week. MedGulf was most active by value as over SR2.86 billion worth of shares changed hands last week.

Arab stock markets rallied last week, buoyed by the performance of blue chip firms and optimistic expectations by investors as to the results of the third quarter of the year, analysts said yesterday.

"We believe that the rally will continue for the coming few weeks, with occasional profit-taking moves, until the publication of the third quarter results at the end of September," an Amman-based portfolio manager told Arab News.

"We think the present rebound at major Arab bourses could be sustainable, given the fact that stock prices have gown down drastically and the availability of huge surplus petrodollars seeking investment," he said.

He said that some Arab markets could have benefited from the rebound at international stock exchanges that were the scene of a plunge over the past couple of weeks.

Jordanian shares lost ground for the third consecutive week this week due to thin trading and liquidity squeeze, analysts said.

The all-share price index of the Amman Stock Exchange shed 1.39 percent last week, closing at 5,643 points, compared with previous week's close at 5,723 points, according to the ASE weekly report.

Kuwaiti stocks extended gains last week with the all-share price index staying well above the 12,500-point psychological barrier.

The KSE benchmark price closed week at 12,584 points, up from 12,520 points previous week.

The United Arab Emirates shares rebounded strongly on Thursday, led by the Emaar Real Estate Holdings, which gained 5.6 percent. Analysts attributed the rally to the intervention by certain funds which pumped fresh funds into the market following the recovery at world stock exchanges.

However, the all-share price index of the UAE stock exchanges of Dubai and Abu Dhabi lost 1 percent last week, closing at 4,302 points compared with 4,342 points in the previous week. The UAE benchmark price is currently 6.72 percent higher than the year's start.

Also on Thursday, Egyptian shares recovered some of the losses which they incurred as a result of the turmoil at world bourses. The CASE 30 index, which measures the performance of the most active 30 stocks, shed 2.8 percent last week, closing at 7,584 points, down from 7,797 points previous week.

The GulfBase GCC Index gained slightly last week to 5,533.29 points. The value of GCC traded shares increased by 26.20 percent to 18.61 billion and volume surged by 9.58 percent to 5.08 billion shares.


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