Saudi shares hit 10-month high

RIYADH Saudi shares continued their upward trend started after the outbreak of the US-led war on Iraq, hitting their highest level in 10 months at close of trading in the week ending Thursday, traders said.

By (AFP)

Published: Sat 5 Apr 2003, 2:31 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 7:36 PM

The market also witnessed hectic trading during which the index passed through the 2,800-point psychological barrier for the first time since last June. The Tadawul All-Shares Index (TASI) finished the week on 2,838.74 points, up 4.9 per cent on last week’s closing of 2,706.14 points.

During trading on Wednesday, TASI went above 2,800 points before dropping.

The TASI is now up 12.7 per cent on the end of 2002, but dwn three per cent on its all-time high of 2,927.23 points recorded last May.

The index has been steadily rising on expectations that the US-led war on Iraq will be swift and decisive. This is the third week in a row the market went up.

Since the start of the war on March 20, TASI has increased 12.1 per cent. On March 19, the index closed on 2,532.07 points, slightly above its end-2002 closing of 2,518.08 points.

The bourse’s surge was led by blue chips, especially commercial banks, Saudi Telecom, the Saudi Basic Industries Corp (Sabic) and the Saudi Electricity Co. (SEC).

Sabic gained 7.9 per cent, SEC rose 7.5 per cent, Saudi Telecom, the largest listed firm, was up 5.4 per cent, and all but two of the nine listed banks increased led by the Saudi American Bank (SAMBA) with 5.8 per cent.

The nine listed banks, Saudi Telecom, Sabic and SEC together make up more than 85 per cent of the market value.

Prices of 55 companies rose, nine went down and five listed firms did not trade.

Trading value increased 40.7 per cent to 9.5 billion riyals (2.533 billion dollars) from 6.7 billion riyals ($1.8 billion) last week.

The value of average daily trading shot up to 422 million dollars compared to 127.7 million dollars in 2002. More than 104 million shares changed hands in the week compared to 79.5 million shares last week, a daily average of 17.3 million shares, more than twice the normal average of eight million. The stock market in Saudi Arabia is the most capitalized in the Arab world at more than $100 billion , but operates only on an interbank basis.

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