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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Investors monitor US stimulus plan

Khalil Hanware, Arab News

JEDDAH/AMMAN: The Saudi stock market remained volatile last week, led by the petrochemical, banking and telecom sectors.

The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) gained 1.11 percent last week, closing at 4,847.62 points.

The Riyadh-based Bakheet Investment Group (BIG) expected the attention of investors to focus in the coming week on the performance of US and other global stocks and their reaction to the US stimulus plan. “In case the reactions turn out to be negative, the impact will put down pressure on oil prices and consequently on the Saudi stock market,” the BIG weekly report said.

The stock market turnover increased to SR33.4 billion last week compared to SR25.7 billion in the previous week.

Qassim Agriculture shares jumped by 22.47 percent to SR10.90 and Hail Agriculture by 17.75percent to SR27.20.

Al-Baha Investment and Development Co. was the top loser last week as its shares plunged 12.81 percent to SR13.95.

Arab stock markets are expected to be “relatively stable” in the coming few weeks, financial analysts said yesterday.

The all-share price index of the Amman Stock Exchange gained 1.78 percent last week, closing at 2,704 points from 2,656 points previous week, according to the ASE weekly report.

Kuwait’s KSE all-share price index shed 4.38 percent last week to close at 6,614 points.

The benchmark price of the United Arab Emirates stock exchanges of Dubai and Abu Dhabi gained 4.1 percent to close at 2,392 points. Egypt’s CASE-30 index climbed 6.2 percent last week, closing at 3,601 points.

The GulfBase GCC Index increased by 1.12 percent to 2,957.91 points last week. The value of GCC traded shares also surged by 25.16 percent to $11.29 billion and volume by 33.17 percent to 6 billion of shares last week.

Positive territory

The BMG Saudi Index, which comprises the top 30 active companies in Saudi Arabia based on their market capitalization after removing government ownership, witnessed a rise of 2.1 percent over the week. The index gained 4.87 points to 237.07.

The number of shares traded over the week appreciated by 29.3 percent to 933.4 million shares compared to 721.7 million shares during the previous week. The average price-earnings (P/E) ratio for 2007’s earnings was 12.06 times, while the price-to-book ratio (P/BV) was 2.56 times.

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