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MENAFN - Arab News - 05/07/2008

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(MENAFN - Arab News)The Saudi stock market fluctuated last week and closed 1.19 percent lower at 9,467.68 points from 9,581.34 points previous week. Confusion regarding the performance of firms in the second quarter of the year was the major factor behind violent fluctuations.

The TASI is currently 14.2 percent lower than the year's start.

According to the weekly report of the Riyadh-based Bakheet Investment Group (BIG), last week's fluctuation of prices was attributed by the report to "the varying view of investors as to the financial outlook of listed companies and the influence of rumors about the expected performance of firms" in the first six months of the year.

The BIG advised investors "to wait for the actual release of figures from the appropriate sources before taking any decisions."

The consultancy house said the losses incurred by Saudi shares last week were "unjustified, given the positive outlook of the second quarter, particularly the petrochemical sector which is expected to drive the market to gains."

The stock market turnover fell to SR35.62 billion last week compared to SR42.95 billion in the previous week.

The top gainer last week was Saudi Indian Company for Cooperative Insurance as its shares jumped 30.24 percent to SR80.75. Shares in The Mediterranean & Gulf Insurance & Reinsurance Co. plunged 14.29 percent to SR30 last week. Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) shares dropped 3.21 percent to SR143. However, SABIC was most active by value as shares worth SR3.11 billion changed hands last week.

Arab stock markets came under pressure from speculators last week.

"Regional markets were cautious last week with speculation and geopolitical aspects emerging as the major driving force," an Amman-based portfolio manager told Arab News.

"However, we still believe that semi-annual results of listed firms, particularly blue chips, and the adamantly surging oil prices will boost markets in the medium and long terms," he said.

Jordanian shares rebounded last week after previous week's deep losses, buoyed by predictions of good semi-annual results.

The all-share price index of the Amman Stock Exchange gained 2.18 percent, to close at 4,750 points compared with previous week's close at 4,649 points, according to the ASE weekly report.

Kuwait's KSE all-share price index declined 1.2 percent, closing week at 15,376 points from 15,563 points previous week.

Egypt's CASE 30 Index, measuring the performance of the 30 most active stocks, lost 0.92 percent on Thursday to close at 9,950 points, due to a deep profit-taking move by foreign investors, analysts said.

The GulfBase GCC Index increased slightly to 6,928.91 points last week. The value of traded shares, however, fell 8.50 percent to 17.57 billion and volume surged by 12.73 percent to 6.20 billion of shares.

Maaden IPO today

The initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden), starts today. Maaden is offering 462,500,000 shares, representing 50 percent of the company's capital, according to a press release received in Jeddah yesterday.

The shares are priced at SR20 each and will be offered from today until July 14. J.P. Morgan is acting as financial adviser and sole bookrunner in relation to the offering.

Maaden's President & CEO Dr. Abdallah Dabbagh, said, "Today marks one of the Most significant events in Saudi Arabia's long mining history. Today we offer Saudi citizens the opportunity to invest in the mineral wealth of the Kingdom."

After the close of subscriptions, shares will be allocated in three stages. In the first stage, each subscriber will receive a minimum of 25 shares. During the second stage, upto 2,000 shares will be allocated to subscribers who have applied for more than 25 shares as long as the total shares allocated do not exceed total shares offered to retail subscribers. If after the second stage there are unallocated shares remaining, then these shares will be allocated on a pro-rata basis.

Members of the Saudi public interested in subscribing to the shares should contact one of the receiving banks which are: Samba Financial Group, Samba Capital, Bank Albilad, Banque Saudi Fransi, the National Commercial Bank (NCB), Riyad Bank, Arab National Bank, SABB, Saudi Hollandi Bank, Al-Rajhi Bank, Bank AlJazira and Saudi Investment Bank.

Bank customers with the appropriate facilities may also be able to subscribe to the IPO through telephone and Internet banking as well as ATMs.

BMG index down

The BMG Saudi Index fell by 1.7 percent to close at 523.6 points last week. The market turnover reached SR16.7 billion (4.4 billion), down from SR19.9 billion (5.3 billion) registered during the week before, going down by 16.1 percent.

The shares traded throughout the week reached 371.2 million shares, down by 18 percent from 452.5 million traded during the previous week.

The average price-earnings (P/E) ratio for 2007 was 30.82 times, whereas the price-to-book (P/B) ratio was 4.81 times.

The insurance and agricultural sectors were the only positive moving sectors week-on-week, ascending by 2.6 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.

The beta coefficient for the sectors was 1.04 for the banking sector, 1.03 for the industrial, 0.99 for the services, and 0.93, 0.65, 0.65, and 0.32, for the agricultural, telecommunications, electricity, and insurance sectors, respectively.

Only eight shares rose last week, whereas four stood still and 18 depreciated.


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