• Value of Saudi shares tops SR260bn in Q1


    Value of Saudi shares tops SR260bn in Q1
    After falling 3.50 percent in the first quarter of this year, the Saudi stock market made a positive start on Saturday.

    The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) gained 0.91 percent to 6,622.65 points — a seven-week high and it was TASI's highest close since Feb. 14.
    The sector activity for the day was all positive except one losing sector. The gaining sectors ranged from 0.14 percent by the real estate development sector to 1.76 percent by the telecommunication and IT sector.
    On the other hand, the losing sector was the transport sector with 0.13 percent fall. The overall market breadth for the day was positive with 113 advancers against 20 decliners giving it an AD ratio of 5.65, the Financial Transaction House (FTH) — licensed by the Capital Market Authority (CMA) — said in its daily market commentary.
    The stock market turnover reached SR5.41 billion on Saturday.
    Al-Rajhi Bank and Bank Albilad shares declined 0.64 and 0.26 percent respectively. Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) shares edged higher by 0.71 percent to SR106 on Saturday. The only loser in the Petrochemical Industries sector was Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co. (Petro Rabigh). Its shares closed 0.61 percent down at SR24.50.
    According to Tadawul's Statistical Report for the first quarter 2011 released on Saturday, the TASI closed at 6,562.85 points, down 238.16 points (3.50 percent) compared the close of the same period of the previous year. On an YTD basis TASI decreased by 0.87 percent (57.90 points). Highest close level for the index during the period was 6,788.42 points as on Jan. 16.
    Total equity market capitalization at the end of the first quarter reached SR1.32 trillion ($351.75 billion), dropped by 1.92 percent over the same period of the previous year.
    The total value of shares traded for the first quarter reached SR260.28 billion ($69.41 billion), increasing by 36.97 percent over the same period of the previous year.
    The total number of shares traded reached 12.18 billion for the first quarter compared to 8.26 billion shares traded during the first quarter of 2010, increasing by 47.42 percent.
    The total number of transactions executed during the first quarter reached 5.58 million compared to 5.35 million traded during the first quarter of 2010, increasing by 4.38 percent.
    The number of trading days during the first quarter was 63 as against 65 during the first quarter of 2010, the Tadawul report said.
    Commenting on the Tadawul's latest report, John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Banque Saudi Fransi, said: "There is definite improvement in terms of volume and value of shares traded compared to the same time last year. The index has declined by a small amount compared to last year, which would have been deeper had it not been for the confidence building measures of the government in general and the minister of finance, Ibrahim Al-Assaf, in particular."
    Although it is difficult to forecast the direction of the stock market, the macroeconomic fundamentals of Saudi Arabia are very healthy, government debt to GDP (gross domestic product) is among the lowest in the G20 and oil prices are robust as the economy is set to witness another possible surplus, Sfakianakis said.

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