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MENAFN - Arab News - 12/04/2008

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(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi shares rebounded last week following two weeks of decline and analysts attributed the improvement to the application of a new market system as of April 5 and to first quarter results declared so far by some listed firms.

"These results came in line with expectations of continued profit growth by Saudi businesses and a reflection of the positive economic environment in Saudi Arabia as well as in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region in general," the Riyadh-based Bakheet Investment Group (BIG) said in its weekly report.

The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) gained 3.5 percent last week, closing at 9,501.72 points from 9,367.52 points. The TASI is currently 13.9 percent lower than the year's start.

The group expected investors to be "cautiously awaiting the first quarter results of blue chip firms to decide how to engage in the market."

The stock market turnover also surged to SR38.57 billion last week compared to SR27 billion in the previous week.

The new Alinma Bank, which launched its SR10.5 billion initial public offering on Monday, raised about SR5.57 billion by Wednesday.

The top gainer last week was Anaam Holding as its shares jumped by 20.61 percent to SR68.75 and the top loser was Tawunia as its shares plunged by 20.28 percent to SR101.25.

In the telecom sector, Zain KSA shares edged higher by 15.38 percent to SR22.50 while Saudi Telecom Co. and Etihad Etsalat shares increased by 0.40 percent and 2.49 percent respectively.

Arab stock markets steadied last week, deriving momentum from expectations of good first quarter results and soaring oil prices, financial analysts said yesterday.

"I believe regional stocks are set to score further gains in the coming few weeks as more corporate results come out and investors get clues that aid them to decide their share holdings in the coming period," an Amman-based portfolio manager told Arab News.

"Surging crude prices remain a strong moving factor for markets as they point to huge surplus petrodollars which oil producing countries are expected to accumulate this year," he said.

Part of Arab money invested abroad is believed to have found its way back home from international markets following recent plunges on fears of US economic slowdown, he added.

Jordanian shares also extended gains last week, led by blue chips particularly the Arab Potash Co., the Jordan Phosphates Mines Co. and the Jordan Petroleum Refinery.

The all-share price index of the Amman Stock Exchange climbed 3.73 percent last week, closing at 8,639 points from 8,328 points previous week, according to the ASE weekly report.

The strong performance of Jordanian stocks was partly attributed to foreign demand particularly from the Gulf region.

Kuwait's KSE all-share price index gained 1.3 percent, closing week at 14,690 points compared with last week's close at 14,502 points.

The benchmark of the United Arab Emirates stock exchanges of Dubai and Abu Dhabi went up 1.2 percent last week, to close at 5,957 points up from 5,884 points previous week.

Egypt's CASE 30 index, measuring the performance of the market's 30 most active stocks, also gained 2.3 percent last week, closing at 11,633 points from 11,372 points previous week.

The GulfBase GCC Index increased by 2.70 percent to 6,799.79 points last week. The value of GCC traded shares also surged by 21.68 percent to 17.33 billion and volume by 1.96 percent to 5.47 billion of shares.

BMG Index Turnover Jumps to SR14.7bn

The BMG Saudi Index went up by 5.4 percent, registering a closing level at 538.6 points last week. Over 356 million shares were traded, providing a turnover of SR14.7 billion (3.9 billion) versus SR11.9 billion (3.2 billion) traded in the previous week, an increase of 23.9 percent. The average P/E ratio for 2006 earnings was 24.9 times, while the price-to-book ratio was 4.19 times.

All of the sectors recorded gains last week, with the exception of the agricultural sector, whose closing level descended by 0.1 percent to 525.9 points.

The industrial sector was the best performer, with a strong 7.7 percent week-on-week increase, whereas the electricity, banking, insurance, services and telecommunications sectors went up by 3.6 percent, 3.1 percent, 2.3 percent, 2.3 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

With regard to the market turnover, the industrial sector acquired the biggest share, accounting for 57.2 percent of the total market turnover.

The beta coefficient for the sectors was 1.03 for the industrial sector, 1.01 for the banking sector, 1.00 for the services sector, and 0.92, 0.66, 0.64, and 0.29, for the agricultural, electricity, telecommunications, and insurance sectors, respectively.

Twenty-one shares increased in value, whilst 7 shares saw their closing prices descend.

The worst performer, last week, was the Mediterranean & Gulf Insurance & Reinsurance Co., going down by 6.0 percent to SR31.50 per share.

The best performer was Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), going up by 9.5 percent to SR161.50 per share.

Al-Rajhi Bank was amongst the positive movers, moving ahead by 3.0 percent, to SR86.00 per share


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