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MENAFN - Arab News - 22/05/2010

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(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi shares continued their downward trend last week with the petrochemical sector spearheading the decline.

The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) plummeted 4.34 percent last week, closing at 6,401.06 points.

The performance of the Saudi market last week reflected "confusion" on the part of Saudi investors due to the euro zone woes, said Abdul Hamid Omari, member of the Saudi Economic Society.

He expected Saudi stocks to pick up, given the "robust nature of the Saudi economy and the huge spending on the part of the Saudi government."

Week-to-week losses were seen across all market sectors, which ranged from a loss of 0.70 percent in the Real Estate Development sector to a loss of 9.03 percent in the Petrochemical Industries sector, the Financial Transaction House (FTH) said in its weekly market report.

The market saw losses almost every day of the week, except for Tuesday where the market did make a modest attempt at a rebound amidst an improvement in oil prices, however, the gains could not hold, and Wednesday saw yet another loss, which has pushed the market below the 20-week moving average on a weekly basis and below almost all trend lines, offering support at the lower Bollinger band, on a daily basis. As the market stands right now, at a three-month low, it is dangerously close to testing the psychological support level of 6,400, the FTH report said.

Al-Hassan Ghazi Ibrahim Shaker shares surged 13.27 percent to close at SR55.50 last week. The other gainers were United Cooperative Assurance Co. (6.05 percent), Al-Sagr Cooperative Insurance Co. (2.87 percent), Mobile Telecommunications Company Saudi Arabia (1.72 percent) and Saudi Hollandi Bank (1.51 percent).

Saudi Cement Company's shares plunged 37.22 percent to SR48.50 last week. Out of the other top 5 declining companies last week, 3 were from the Petrochemical sector, namely SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corp.), Yansab (Yanbu National Petrochemical Company) and Sipchem (Saudi International Petrochemical Co.), which were down 10.87 percent, 10.46 percent and 9.35 percent respectively.

The value of Saudi traded shares fell to SR20.46 billion last week from SR22.40 billion in the previous week.

Arab stock markets lost fresh ground last week as investors continued to come under psychological pressure from the euro-zone debt crisis and plummeting oil prices mainly due to European growth fears, financial analysts said Friday.

The plunge was led by Saudi and Egyptian stocks, while United Arab Emirates shares found support from news that the Dubai World conglomerate had reached a deal to restructure 23.5 billion in debt with its core lenders, they added.

"Arab investors are apparently still under psychological impact of the slump of global markets in response to persistent euro-zone debt ordeal," an Amman-based portfolio manager said.

"The falling of oil prices below the 70 level, a seventh-month low, will have a negative effect on regional markets, particularly in the Gulf region," he said.

Jordanian shares continued their downward trend last week amid reports of retreating liquidity and declining confidence.

The all-share price index of the Amman Stock Exchange shed 2.61 percent last week, to close at 2,482 points, according to the ASE weekly report.

Kuwait's KSE all-share index also closed 1.3 percent in the red at 7,063 points, led by the banking sector.

Reports that the Dubai World had reached agreement with its creditors to reschedule a major part of its debt reflected positively on Thursday on the stock exchanges of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, analysts said.

On weekly basis, the benchmarks of the Dubai and Abu Dhabi markets shed 1.4 percent and 0.5 percent to close respectively at 1,692 points and 2,781 points.

The Egyptian bourse was the Arab world's major loser last week due to extensive selling by both foreign and local investors who reacted sharply to the bad news on global bourses, analysts said.

Egypt's AGX30 index, which measures the performance of the market's 30 most active stocks, dived 7.2 percent last week, to close at 6,422 points.

The GulfBase GCC Index declined by 3.17 percent to 3,848.59 points. The value of GCC traded shares dropped 11.77 percent to 6.94 billion and volume plunged by 15.69 percent to 2.82 billion of shares.

By Khalil hanware & Abdul Jalil Mustafa


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