Saudi stock market rises, boosted by banks

Saudi Arabia’s stock market rose on Tuesday, boosted by its banking shares, while all major Gulf markets rebounded from recent sell-offs, in line with Asian shares.

Saudi’s index increased 0.6% in early trade, with Al Rajhi Bank adding 1.2% and Saudi Basic Industries up 0.9%.

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.

The index is up 8.8% so far this year in a rally led by foreign investors.

“The index inclusion story is (the) dominant theme … for foreign investors on Saudi’s equity market,” said Lighthouse Research.

In the week ending May 16, foreign investors bought a net 3.9 billion riyals ($1.04 billion) of Saudi shares, nearly four times their average weekly net purchases since the start of 2019 and the 20th consecutive week of net buying, added Lighthouse.

Abu Dhabi’s index jumped 1.1%, led by a 1.7% increase in First Abu Dhabi Bank.

Dana Gas was up 1.8% after the energy firm said it had started drilling operations at Merak-1 well, offshore Egypt.

Qatar’s index gained 0.5%, with Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding jumping 7.6%.

The stock has been surging recently after it was included in MSCI’s index. Since May 14, the stock has added 53%.

The Dubai index edged up 0.1%. National Cement Company was up 1.7% after news it had bought Kenya’s ARM Cement’s assets for $50 million.

Arabtec Holding rebounded 2.1%, snapping four straight sessions of losses on weak first-quarter earnings.

Source: Reuters