Saudi market rise, close at highest level since 2015

Dubai : Saudi Arabian stock market rose 1.1 per cent yesterday helped by expectations for more inflows of foreign money lifted Saudi Arabia as it also surpassed its January peak to close at its highest level since October 2015.

Petrochemicals were particularly strong as National Petrochemical, which had jumped 10pc on Sunday after reporting annual net profit more than doubled, rose by the same margin again.

Saudi Industrial Investment Group, which had gained 10pc on Monday after reporting annual profit increased more than ten-fold, added 5.3pc.

Exchange data released after the close on Sunday showed foreign investors were net buyers of Saudi stocks last week to the tune of $115 million, as they positioned for expected decisions by equity index compilers in the next few months to upgrade Riyadh to emerging market status.

Dubai’s index fell 0.7pc despite a 4.5pc gain by banking giant Emirates NBD. ENBD had soared 13.6pc on Sunday after saying it planned a big capital increase, which analysts think will mean raising its 5pc ceiling for foreign ownership.

Losing stocks outnumbered gainers in Dubai by 25 to six. The market has been trading near two-year lows as money flows out for investment in the Saudi bull run.

In Qatar, the market soared after Qatar National Bank said it would raise its ceiling for foreign ownership. The index added 5.0pc, its biggest leap since January 2016. 

QNB, in which the government is by far the biggest shareholder, said it would recommend to shareholders increasing its non-Qatari ownership ceiling to 49pc of capital from 25pc.

Shares in some other government-affiliated Qatari companies with 25pc foreign ownership limits also surged on expectations they would take the same action. Industries Qatar jumped 10pc and Qatar Electricity & Water gained 8.7pc.

Egypt’s index rose 2.1pc. El Sewedy Electric last traded 10pc higher after saying it had signed a contract with Egyptian Electricity Transmission Co to provide power transmission lines worth 2.12 billion Egyptian pounds ($121 million).


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