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MENAFN - Arab News - 07/08/2010

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(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi shares were volatile last week due to conflicting reports about world recovery that prompted investors to resort to profit-taking tactics to avoid any unforeseen losses, analysts said.

The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) gained 0.54 percent last week, closing at 6,300.44 points.

On a week-to-week basis, the sector activity was positively biased with 10 out of 15 sectors closing with gains ranging from 0.10 percent by the Cement sector to 3.98 percent by Industrial Investment sector and Multi-Investment sector. The losing sectors on the other hand ranged from 0.21 percent by the Banks & Financial Services to 2.35 percent by the Media and Publishing sector, the Financial Transaction House (FTH) said in its weekly market commentary.

Saudi analysts said TASI's success to remain above the 6,200-point area for weeks was indicative of fresh rallies, barring any unforeseen negative developments on the world scene.

The value of Saudi traded shares also surged to SR13.60 billion last week compared to SR12.84 billion in the previous week.

Trade Union Cooperative Insurance Company was the top gainer last week as its shares jumped 22.59 percent to SR20.35. Saudi Industrial Services Co. shares edged higher by 17.27 percent to SR14.60.

The top loser for the week on the other hand was Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) as its shares dropped 4.83 percent to SR37.

The performance of Saudi stock market was positive in July. According to Tadawul's monthly report for July, the TASI closed at 6,283.73 points, gaining 189.97 points or 3.12 percent over the close of June.

On an YTD basis, TASI registered a positive return of 2.65 percent or 161.97 points.

The Tadawul report said, total equity market capitalization at the end of July reached SR1.23 trillion (328.67 billion), increasing by 2.84 percent over the previous month.

The total value of traded shares, however, fell by 29.77 percent to SR54.57 billion (14.55 billion).

Arab stock markets struggled to remain in the green area last week, as investors kept a close eye on the Wall Street and other major world bourses as well as on oil prices which appeared stable over 80 a barrel, financial analysts said Friday.

"I believe Middle East markets, particularly in the Gulf area, will retain their psychological connection with global markets in the coming weeks," Wajdi Makhamreh, CEO of the Amman-based Noor Investments brokerage, said.

"We think the strong earnings reported by key US and German firms will have a positive impact on Gulf markets, given the correlation between businesses in the two regions," he added.

Makhamreh also expected crude prices above 80 a barrel will represent "a catalyst for regional markets" in the coming weeks.

Jordanian shares were the main loser in the Middle East last week due to what Makhamreh described as a "confidence crisis" that prompted a sell-off throughout the week.

"There is a state of frustration on the part of investors who were forced to resort to short-term speculative activity," he said.

The all-share index of the Amman Stock Exchange slipped 2.9 percent last week, closing at 2,265 points, the lowest in seven years, according to the ASE weekly report.

Kuwaiti stocks edged higher, receiving support mainly from the services and industry sectors, analysts said.

Kuwait's KSE all-share index gained 0.17 percent last week, to close at 6,666 points.

The United Arab Emirates shares reflected mixed performance last week as investors monitored Dubai World steps to handle its debt crisis.

The benchmark of the Dubai stock exchange gained 0.36 percent last week, to close at 1,517 points, receiving support from the sectors of utilities, investments and real estate, analysts said.

The Abu Dhabi index fell 0.64 percent, closing at 2,529 points, due to pressure from the banking and real estate sectors.

Egypt's AGX30 index, which measures the performance of the market's 30 most active stocks, gained 1.4 percent last week, to close at 6,407 points.

The GulfBase GCC Index declined slightly to 3,729.46 points. The value of GCC traded shares fell 0.27 percent to 4.62 billion and volume plunged by 30.40 percent to 2.33 billion of shares.

By Khalil Hanware & Abdul Jalil Mustafa


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