Arab bourses to stay buoyant

AMMAN - Arab stock markets are expected to gather momentum in the coming weeks before a new surge in prices in March, ahead of publication of first quarter results, analysts said yesterday.

By (DPA)

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Published: Sat 12 Feb 2005, 9:32 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 4:24 PM

The trend was expected despite this week’s “limited” corrections, they said.

Amer Muasher, director of brokerage at the National Bank of Jordan, said: “I think stocks remain attractive and bourses are set to witness a fresh upward thrust in March ahead of the Q1 results, as investors modify their positions in accordance with the 2004 results of listed firms.”

The price index of the Amman Stock Exchange shed 2.56 per cent this week, to close at 4,720 points down from 4,844 points last week, according to the ASE weekly report.

The index slid deeper during the week, dragged down by the heavyweight Arab Bank following a decision by its board of directors to shut down the bank’s New York branch.

The board said the U.S. climate no longer suited its financial strategy - a reference to a compensation suit filed against the bank by hundreds of relatives of victims of Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel.

The Arab Bank share rebounded in the last two days after its management belittled the financial importance of the step, saying the assets of the New York branch represented less than two per cent of the bank’s total assets.

Saudi shares advanced this week, with the Tadawul All Shares Index gaining 2.1 per cent and closing at an all time high of 8,402.82 points.

Saudi stocks were driven by a 10.3 per cent surge of the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), the strong 2004 results of which continued to draw positive reaction from investors, the Bakheet Financial Advisors (BFA) said in their weekly report.

“After the announcement of the financial results of all Saudi blue chips that showed a very strong growth in 2004 profits, we expect investors now to keep their eye on the first quarter results of 2005, particularly petrochemical companies,” the BFA said.

However, they advised investors to monitor fluctuations in oil prices.

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