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Tue 28 May 2019 03:20 PM

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Saudi stocks surge ahead as investors prepare for MSCI inclusion

Tadawul All Share Index gains 2% ahead of its inclusion in MSCI's main emerging market index

Saudi stocks surge ahead as investors prepare for MSCI inclusion

Shares in Saudi Arabia surged at the close as MSCI was set to begin including some of the kingdom’s shares into its main emerging-market index.

The Tadawul All Share Index rose 2 percent on the day, after fluctuating throughout the session, with banks contributing the most to the increase.

The Tadawul trimmed this month’s losses to 8 percent. MSCI is set to add the kingdom to its developing country benchmark, using Tuesday’s closing prices.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp, Al Rajhi Bank, National Commercial Bank, Saudi Telecom Co and Samba Financial Group are expected to draw the most inflows from the first stage of the MSCI inclusion.

Together, they should attract about $3.5 billion from money managers passively tracking the index, according to estimates by Mohamad Al Hajj, equities strategist at EFG-Hermes in Dubai.

Saudi shares have outperformed peers in developing economies since MSCI announced in June 2017 that it was evaluating an eventual inclusion of the country in its emerging-market category, which has about $1.8 trillion in assets benchmarked to the gauge.

The decision was confirmed last year. The addition will take place in two stages, with the first phase following today’s close, the second in August.

But the Saudi benchmark lost ground this month, as rekindled political tensions may have “spooked” some investors in the Saudi market, Ahmed Badr, head of equities for the Middle East, North Africa at Credit Suisse in Dubai, said in a Bloomberg TV interview.

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