Banks boost Saudi stock market



Saudi Arabia’s stock market rose sharply on Tuesday, leading gains in most major Gulf bourses amid a global rally after Washington temporarily eased trade restrictions imposed last week on China’s Huawei. Qatar dropped due to a wide sell-off. The Saudi index increased 1.66 percent, with Al Rajhi Bank adding 2.2 percent and Saudi Basic Industries up 3.3 percent.

The Middle East today is following the positive lead from global markets. Local sentiment is also better as evidenced by the strong moves in small cap stocks, said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital. We expect Saudi Arabia to continue its upward trend until at least the MSCI effective date May 28, added Vrajesh. Thereafter, investors need to be selective and follow a bottom up-approach. Overall, we find better value in UAE and Egypt.

MSCI last week said it would include MSCI Saudi Arabia in its emerging-markets index, effective May 28, a move that could draw billions of dollars into the market.

Saudi International Petrochemical closed 3.4 percent higher. The firm completed the merger of equals with Sahara Petrochemical, which delisted on May 20. Qatar’s index was down 2 percent, with 17 of its 20 stocks sliding. The Middle East’s largest lender, Qatar National Bank, dropped 2.4 percent, while Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding plunged 10 percent, snapping a six-day winning streak triggered by the stock inclusion in MSCI’s index.— VoM

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