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MENAFN - Arab News - 27/03/2010

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(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi shares rallied for the sixth week in a row, backed by strong gains of the petrochemical and banking sectors.

The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) gained 1.24 percent last week, to close at 6,756.98 points.

In terms of sectors, the market on a weekly basis only saw negative sector closes in four separate sectors ranging from -0.13 percent by the Media and Publishing to -0.76 percent by the Agriculture & Food Industries sector. Otherwise, all other sectors closed the week with gains. Weekly sector gains ranged from 0.27 percent in the Multi-Investment to a gain of 3.03 percent in the Transport sector, the Jeddah-based Financial Transaction House (FTH) said in its weekly market commentary.

With regards to individual company movement, the top gaining companies for the week were MMG (Mohammad Al-Mojil Group Company) and RIBL (Riyad Bank), which saw weekly gains of 6.11 percent and 5.94 percent respectively. The biggest declining companies were Al-Sagr Cooperative Insurance Co. and Middle East Specialized Cables Co. (MESC), which saw weekly loss of -4.08 percent and -3.96 percent respectively, the FTH said.

"TASI last week hit a strong resistance area which could trigger profit-taking moves," Abdul Hamid Omari, member of the Saudi Economic Society, said.

He attributed the continuous gains scored by Saudi shares over the past weeks "to fresh liquidity entering the market and a conviction on the part of traders that the Saudi market will preserve its steadiness" in the coming period.

Omari expected Saudi shares to rally further in April against predictions of good results in the first quarter of the year.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) did not have any major news affecting the price as the results are expected early next week that will determine the direction of the stock as well as have its influence on the TASI. During the week, the stock gained 2.35 percent and closed for the week at SR98.00.

The value of traded shares fell slightly to SR16.29 billion last week compared to SR16.36 billion in the previous week.

Arab stock markets gained momentum last week, buoyed by a 9.5 billion support from the government of Dubai to the debt-saddled Dubai World conglomerate, recovering oil prices and investors' optimism over the first quarter results, financial analyst said Friday.

Dubai's government said Thursday that it would pump up to 9.5 billion into Dubai World, outlining a long-awaited restructuring plan aimed at rescuing the group's debt of about 26 billion.

"I believe the step will shore up stock markets in the entire Gulf region and elsewhere in the Middle East and help the emirate to recapture its image as a business friendly oasis in the area," an Amman-based portfolio manager said.

He expected regional stocks to score fresh gains in the coming weeks with investors appearing upbeat over the results of the first quarter of the year.

"We also have to reckon with oil prices above the level of 80 per barrel as a key moving factor for Middle East markets," he said.

The news of the Dubai government's plan pushed up prices at the Dubai stock exchange by 4.5 percent on Thursday. On weekly basis, the benchmark of the Dubai bourse climbed 6.9 percent, closing at 1,845 points.

The all-share index of the Abu Dhabi stock exchange also followed suit, gaining 2.5 percent and closing week at 2,904 points.

Jordanian shares were the main losers in the region last week, with analysts attributing the plunge to strong profit-taking operations that followed earlier rallies.

The all-share index of the Amman Stock Exchange shed 2.72 percent last week, closing at 2,466 points, according to the ASE Weekly report.

Kuwait shares received impetus from news that the Kuwaiti mobile group, Zain, was finalizing "definite agreements" for the sale of most of its African assets to the Indian giant, Bharti Airtel Ltd., for 9 billion, the Kuwait-based Gulf Invest Co. said in its weekly report.

The benchmark of the Kuwaiti stock exchange gained 1 percent last week, closing at 7,489 points.

Egypt's AGX30 index, measuring the performance of the market's 30 most active stocks, climbed 2.3 percent last week, to close at 6,765 points, due to extensive buying by both foreign and local investors, analysts said.

The GulfBase GCC index increased by 2.29 percent to 4,058.29 points last week. The value of GCC traded shares rose by 0.45 percent to 7.60 billion but volume fell by 14.91 percent to 4.77 billion of shares.

By Khalil Hanware & Abdul Jalil Mustafa


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