Saudi Arabia’s bourse was boosted yesterday by financial sector gains and foreign cash inflows from other regional markets in anticipation of a possible upgrade of the Saudi market emerging market status by index compilers FTSE and MSCI.
Trading was mixed across the rest of the region.
Egypt rose 0.5% to 16,472.28 points on gains in the consumer sector while Dubai closed the week with a 0.8% loss at 3,157.45 points.
The Saudi index was lifted by the financial stocks, with National Commercial Bank gaining 4.2%, followed by banks such as Bank Albilad and Banque Saudi Fransi, posting gains of about 3.5%. Saudi Steel Pipes was the best performer, rising 10%, as global trade war fears eased after the White House said impending US tariffs hikes on steel and aluminium imports could exclude Canada, Mexico and several other nations. The Saudi index went up 1.5% to 7,562.11 points.
Analysts said foreign money was moving to Saudi stocks from markets such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi as investors wanted to be well positioned before a potential upgrade of Saudi Arabia to emerging market status by index compilers FTSE and MSCI.
FTSE is expected to take a decision by the end of March.
Abu Dhabi edged up 0.2% to 4,527.10 points yesterday, helped by a 0.9% gain by First Abu Dhabi Bank, rebounding after a plunge earlier this week as the stock went ex-dividend.
Dana Gas was volatile and closed down 1.3%. One analyst said volatility would continue as long as there was no resolution in the company’s negotiations with creditors on a potential out-of-court settlement of its sukuk dispute.
“Once the settlement is finalised and the amount is known, then you can have a proper valuation of the stock,” he said.
In Bahrain, GFH Financial Group was the best performer, posting a 5.3% gain.
One analyst said the company attracted bids after the appointment as chairman last month of the chief executive of Abu Dhabi Financial Group, pointing to a stronger involvement of Abu Dhabi in the firm.
Elsewhere, the Kuwait index closed 0.4% down to 6778.18 points, the Bahrain index climbed 0.3% to 1,370.246 points and the Oman index edged up 0.03% to 4,929.800 points.
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