Saudi hits week-high, construction stocks up

Dubai's index DFM recovers the past two sessions' losses as bluechips gain
Saudi hits week-high, construction stocks up
(Getty Images)
By Reuters
Tue 10 May 2011 11:13 AM

Building and construction index leds gains on Saudi Arabia's bourse TASI as investors bought into the sector after the government boosted measures to tackle huge demand for housing in the kingdom.

Construction companies Al Khodari Sons Co and Mohammad Al Mojil Group gained 3.3 and 2.5 percent respectively.

"The government encouraging citizens to own more houses will basically cause construction sector to rise," said Youssef Kassantini, a Saudi-based financial analyst.

In March, the Saudi king announced $93bn in handouts, which includes SR250bn ($67bn) to be spent on 500,000 new homes.

"Any stocks that have to do with construction, like cement companies, we see them doing well."

Petrochemical companies maintain their upward trend with Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) rising 0.2 percent and the index adding 0.3 percent.

The main benchmark TASI ended 0.6 percent higher at a week-high of 6,713 points.

Dubai's index DFM recovered the past two sessions' losses as bluechips gained.

Dubai Financial Market rebound 3.9 percent following Monday's drop after it reported a 96-percent fall in first-quarter earnings.

"The market is not pricing the potential (of an MSCI upgrade at all," said Rami Sidani, Schroders Middle East head of investment, referring to a possible upgrade to emerging market status by influential index compiler MSCI.

"If it happen it would put both markets [UAE and Qatar] on international radar."

Developer Union Properties surges 7.1 percent after saying on Monday its first-quarter net profit jumped 64 percent.

Heavyweight Emaar Properties climbed 4.2 percent.

Bucking the trend, Islamic mortgage lender Tamweel hit limit down after shares resume trade for the first time since being suspended in 2008.

"UAE market is very cheap - it's definitely at a severe discount compared to the region," Sidani said.

Dubai's benchmark added 1.2 percent and closes at 1,607 points, edging away from Monday's four-week low.

But Abu Dhabi's index ADI slipped 0.2 percent to 2,671 points, as volumes slumped to a week low.

Aldar Properties fell 0.7 percent while heavyweight Etisalat slid 0.5 percent.

Elsewhere, Qatar's index QSI ended at a high of nearly four weeks, lifted by Qatar National Bank .

The bank added 3.2 percent, after completing subscription on a rights issue and funds rushed back in.

"Over the last few days a lot of liquidity was taken out of the market on the QNB rights issue," says a Doha-based trader on condition on anonymity.

It increased shares by 25 percent.

The benchmark closed 1.4 percent higher at 8,665 points, its highest close since April 17.

Low volumes dragged Oman's index MSI as it sat on a five-week closing low, adding to downbeat sentiment after first-quarter earnings.

Engineering firm Galfar booked large losses and falls for a third consecutive session, down 3.3 percent. It posted first-quarter net profit of OR1.38m, according to Sunday's statement on the bourse. The stock hit a nine-month low.

"Volumes have come down sharply since the beginning of the month," said Kanaga Sunder, Gulf Baader Capital Markets head of research.

"Technically, the market looks weak below 6250 level, which could be a bearish trend in the medium-term."

Heavyweights Bank Muscat and Oman Telecommunications Co (Omantel) fell 1.6 and 0.5 percent respectively.

The benchmark dropped in five of past six sessions; ended 0.5 percent lower at 6,233 points.


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