By Soren Billing
Insurance firms star as Arabian Business tests market with $100,000 investment.
Insurance companies were the biggest gainers on the Saudi stock exchange in the first half of the year, while telecom firms and banks underperformed.
The Tadawul All Share Index was up 16.52 percent in the year to date at Tuesday’s close, helped by a recovering oil price, after losing almost half its value in the second half of 2008.
Arabian Business has tested the index's performance so far this year by investing an imaginary $100,000 at the beginning of 2009 into each of the companies listed on the All Shares Index.
Companies in the expanding but still fragmented insurance sector dominated the top 15 gainers, mirroring gains on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) in the same period.
The best performing stock, Al Sagr Company for Cooperative Insurance, increased more than three-fold in value.
Fears that global financial turmoil has spread to the Kingdom weighed on banks, with index heavyweight Samba Financial Group falling by 18.4 percent.
Other losers included companies in traditionally defensive sectors such as dairy giant Almarai, which rose 11.25 percent but underperformed the wider index, and diversified food manufacturer and supermarket operator Savola Group, which lost 8.1 percent of its value.
Savola’s oil and sugar manufacturing businesses have been badly hit by a drop in global commodity prices, and investor uncertainty over some of its real estate projects.
Companies in the increasingly competitive telecom sector were also among the laggers, with Saudi Telecom and Zain Saudi Arabia rising by only 4.9 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively.
THE TADAWUL DID PERFORM IN A POSITIVE TREND, AND IN THE SAME TIME IT DID OUTPERFORMED THE OTHER COMPANIES IN THE BANKING AND FOOD AND BEVERAGES SECTORS TO FALL AT 10% OF EACH OF ITS VALUE, BUT NOW THEY ARE WORKING TO CONSTRUCT MORE REAL ESTATE PROJECTS TO HELP THEM GAIN BETTER STOCKS TO INCREASE THEIR PERFORMANCE TO BE IN A POSITIVE TREND, ALLLAH WILLING