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MENAFN - Arab News - 28/06/2008

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(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi shares were the target for selling pressures last week ahead of the announcements of second quarter results.

The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) shed 2.02 percent last week, closing at 9,581.34 points from 9,778.48 points previous week.

The TASI is currently 13.2 percent lower than the year's start.

The Riyadh-based Bakheet Investment Group (BIG) said in its weekly report it expected a marked improvement in the performance of petrochemical and banking stocks in the second quarter of the year.

BIG expects the majority of blue chips will show positive results in the first half of 2008 compared to the same period of 2007.

"We expect the market to be rather quiet in the coming days ahead of the release of the second quarter results, particularly of blue chips which usually determine the market's next trend," the BIG said.

The stock market turnover reached SR42.95 billion last week, down against previous week's SR52.79 Billion. Alinma Bank dominated trading value at 9 percent followed by Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) at 8 percent and Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co. (Petro Rabigh) at 7 percent. The insurance sector showed positive performance last week. Shares in the newly listed United Cooperative Assurance Co. jumped 187.50 percent to close at SR28.75.

Al-Ahlia Insurance Co. shares surged by 20.16 percent to SR73, the Mediterranean & Gulf Insurance & Reinsurance Co. by 15.70 percent to SR35, Allied Cooperative Insurance Co. by 9.17 percent to SR65.50 and Malath Cooperative Insurance and Reinsurance Co. by 7.38 percent to SR80.

Arab bourses were swept by deep profit-taking moves last week as investors awaited the release of semi-annual results before determining their portfolios for the coming period, financial analysts said yesterday. However, analysts predicted that the quarterly results of listed firms and the record high prices of crude oil would boost stocks as an investment haven for the huge surplus petrodollars due to accrue to regional oil exporters.

"I believe half-year results and surging oil prices will give a boost to regional markets in the coming weeks," an Amman-based portfolio manager told Arab News.

He said that some Middle East stock markets were this week the scene for "window-dressing, speculation and profit-taking operations" ahead of July 1 which heralds the start of the second half of the year. Jordanian shares plummeted last week as the soaring prices of strategic stocks suffered heavily under the pressure of an almost continuous sell-off and deep profit-taking operations.

The all-share price index of the Amman Stock Exchange plunged 7.83 percent last week, closing at 4,649 points from 5,044 points previous week.

Kuwait's KSE all-share price index closed marginally higher last week at 15,563 points compared with previous week's close at 15,552 points.

The benchmark of the United Arab Emirates stock exchanges of Dubai and Abu Dhabi shed 2.3 percent last week, closing at 6,011 points from 6,154 points previous week.

The GulfBase GCC Index also dropped by 1.57 percent to 6,920.08 points. The value of GCC traded shares fell 17.49 percent to 19.20 billion and volume declined 14.04 percent to 5.50 billion of shares.

BMG index falls

The BMG Saudi Index's gains that extended to four successive weeks ended last week in a negative territory.

The index fell by 2.1 percent. The index closed at 532.49 points, on a turnover of SR19.9 billion (5.3 billion) during the week, which is less than previous week's turnover of SR27.9 billion (7.5 billion) by 28.8 percent. The shares traded throughout the week reached 452.5 million shares, down by 37.0 percent from 717.8 traded during the previous week.

The average price-earnings (P/E) ratio for 2007 earnings was 31.72 times, whereas the price-to-book (P/B) ratio was 4.82 times.

The electricity sector was the only sector that ascended week-on-week by 2.0 percent. All the other sectors incurred losses.

The beta coefficient for the sectors was 1.05 for the banking sector, 1.03 for the industrial, 0.99 for the services, and 0.92, 0.64, 0.62, and 0.29, for the agricultural, telecommunications, electricity, and insurance sectors, respectively.

Only four shares rose last week, whereas two stood still.


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