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MENAFN - Arab News - 08/05/2010

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(MENAFN - Arab News) The Saudi stock market remained steady last week, receiving support from first quarter results and the country's macroeconomic strength, analysts said.

The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) shed 0.73 percent last week, closing at 6,817.86 points.

"Investors are apparently eying efforts underway to come to grips with Greece's debt crisis," said Mohammad Emran, member of the Saudi Economic Society.

"We expect linkage between global and Gulf markets to become stronger due to concerns Greece's debt worries could spill over to involve other European countries."

The top gainer last week was Gulf General Cooperative Insurance Company, as its shares jumped 21.97 percent to SR27.20. The other major gainers last week were the Saudi Investment Bank (6.35 percent), Nama chemicals (5.74 percent), Saudi Advanced (4.48 percent) and A. Othaim Market (4.18 percent).

Saudi Fransi Cooperative Insurance Company's shares plunged 20.05 percent to SR32.30.

The value of Saudi traded shares also declined to SR20.30 billion last week, compared to SR22.11 billion the previous week.

Arab stock markets closed week lower, coming under "psychological" pressure from plunges of global bourses as part of the ramifications of Greece's debt crisis, financial analysts said Friday.

They expected the impact of the European debt debacle on the Middle East markets to taper off when investors come to realize the fallout would be minimal.

"We believe that regional markets are coming under the unjustified psychological pressure of plummeting world markets as a result of the European debt crisis," said CEO of the Noor Investments brokerage Wajdi Makhamreh.

"Falling oil prices due to shrinking world demand is also expected to have a downward pressure on regional stocks."

Jordanian shares lost ground last week due to sell-off by small investors and shrinking liquidity, analysts said.

The all-share index of the Amman Stock Exchange fell 2.84 percent last week, closing at 2,502 points, according to the ASE weekly report.

Kuwait's KSE all-share index dropped 2.5 percent on a weekly basis, closing at a 10-month low of 7,114 points.

The weekly report of the Kuwait-based Gulf Invest Co. attributed the decline to liquidity shortage and lack of buying desire on the part of leading traders due to the Greek debt crisis and regional geopolitics, particularly the standoff over the Iranian nuclear file.

The benchmark of the Dubai stock exchange edged lower, closing at 1,734 points from 1,740 points last week.

Abu Dhabi's all-share index edged higher, closing week at 2,791 points from previous week's close at 2,777 points.

Egyptian stocks were the main losers in the region last week due to a scramble by foreign investors to sell their holdings, analysts said.

Egypt's AGX30 index, which measures the performance of the market's 30 most active stocks, plummeted 4.4 percent last week, to close at 7,116 points.

The GulfBase GCC Index fell one percent to 4,010.02 points last week. The value of GCC traded shares declined 14.12 percent to 6.93 billion, while volume plunged 24.19 percent to 2.61 billion of shares.

By Khalil Hanware & Abdul Jalil Mustafa


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