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MENAFN - Arab News - 28/07/2009

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(MENAFN - Arab News) AXA Cooperative Insurance Co. made its Saudi stock market debut with a bang on Monday. The SR10 AXA shares opened at SR46.40 and climbed as high as SR49.70 and as low as SR35.60 before closing at SR36.70. AXA shares jumped 267 percent on the first day of trading. AXA became the 24th company to be traded in the Insurance sector.

Saudi Arabia's stocks reached a five-week closing high as the Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) closed on Monday at 5,839.41 points, the highest since June 20.

A positive close on Monday, with 8 of the 15 market sectors closing with gains ranging from 0.10 percent for Banks & Financial Services, to 1.55 percent for the Petrochemicals sector. On the other hand, sector losses for the other 7 sectors ranged from 0.04 percent for the Insurance sector to 1.37 percent for the Multi-Investment. Although liquidity has improved to SR5.5 billion, market breadth remains negative with 45 advancers and 69 decliners, giving an AD ratio of 0.65, the Jeddah-based Financial Transaction House (FTH) said on Monday.

Monday's high once again could not reach the upper Bollinger Band, and although the high of 5,878 was above the 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement level, which proved to be a resistance on Sunday, the market could not hold a position above it. The global effect is still important on the movement of the local market, however, the significance seems to have become dampened, the FTH said in its market commentary.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) shares edged higher by 2.90 percent as petrochemical stocks have rallied on back of rising commodity and oil prices. SABIC shares closed on Monday at SR71. Alabdullatif Industrial Investment Co. was the top gainer on Monday as its shares increased by 5.21 percent to close at SR50.50. Qassim Agriculture shares plunged 9.92 percent to SR11.80 on Monday. Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) shares dropped 1.95 percent to SR50.25.

Meanwhile, the Capital Market Authority (CMA) announced on Monday that the listing and trading of ACE Arabia Cooperative Insurance Company will commence on Wednesday within the Insurance sector with an unrestricted price limit for the first day of trading only.

GOSI raises stakes

The General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI), Saudi Arabia's largest pension fund, has raised stakes in six listed firms, including STC and Savola Group, official data showed on Monday.

State-owned GOSI increased its stake in state-controlled STC on Sunday to 7 percent from 6.9 percent, according to the data published on the stock exchange's website. Other increases involved: Maaden at 6.3 percent from 5.9 percent, Savola at 9.8 percent from 9.6 percent, Saudi Fertilizers Co. at 14.2 percent from 14 percent and Southern Province Cement at 13.1 percent from 13 percent. The data also showed that GOSI now holds a 5 percent stake in property developer Jabal Omar Development Co.

It was not immediately clear if GOSI had any shares at all in Jabal Omar before Sunday's transaction since 5 percent is the minimum percentage liable for public disclosure in Saudi Arabia.

The data does not show the price GOSI paid for the stocks.

Based on Sunday's closing stock prices, and excluding the Jabal Omar deal, the value of the stake increases in the five firms was SR252.5 million (67.3 million), according to Reuters' calculations.

The stake increases by GOSI followed the publication of second quarter earnings.

By Khalil Hanware


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