Saudi shares rise as index outperforms Gulf peers

The Saudi index is up around 8.5 percent this year, outperforming major Gulf markets. (AFP)
Updated 13 March 2019
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Saudi shares rise as index outperforms Gulf peers

  • Saudi Arabia’s index was up 0.95 percent, with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 0.92 percent and its largest lender National Commercial Bank adding 0.57 percent
  • In Dubai, the index was up 0.05 percent, with Aramex climbing 9.13 percent in active trade

DUBAI: Dubai’s stock market rose on Wednesday, supported by a jump in courier firm Aramex, while Saudi Arabia also gained as most of its banks traded higher amid rising oil prices.

Saudi Arabia’s index was up 0.95 percent, with Al Rajhi Bank gaining 0.92 percent and its largest lender National Commercial Bank adding 0.57 percent.

The index is up around 8.5 percent this year, outperforming major Gulf markets, with big investors in Saudi Arabia pushing ahead with deals and pouring money back into stocks as the country tries to move on from journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.

Foreign net buying in the Saudi market picked up in the first week of March, coming in at SR985 million ($263 million), the highest since the week ending Jan. 17, Arqaam Capital said.

Developer Arriyadh Development added 1.47 percent after the Capital Market Authority approved an increase in capital to SR1.78 billion from SR1.33 billion through a bonus share issue.

In Dubai, the index was up 0.05 percent, with Aramex climbing 9.13 percent in active trade. Australia Post Transaction Services sold its 10 percent stake in the firm for 602.6 million dirhams ($164.1 million).

That opened up the possibility for a new foreign investor to buy into the company, Arqaam Capital said, adding this was “an excellent time” to buy the stock.

Dubai Investments gained 2.3 percent. Its board proposed a cash dividend of 10 percent of share capital for 2018. The firm posted a 35 percent drop in its net profit for the year.


Apple’s Cook to China: keep opening for sake of global economy

Updated 23 March 2019
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Apple’s Cook to China: keep opening for sake of global economy

  • Cook’s comments come as Apple weathers sinking sales in China
  • Despite official pledges and repeated assurances that China would continue to open its markets

BEIJING: Apple chief executive Tim Cook nudged China on Saturday to open up and said the future would depend on global collaboration, as the United States and China remained locked in a bitter trade dispute.
“We encourage China to continue to open up, we see that as essential, not only for China to reach its full potential, but for the global economy to thrive,” Cook said at a China Development Forum in Beijing.
Despite official pledges and repeated assurances that China would continue to open its markets, some analysts worry that its reform project has slowed or even stalled under President Xi Jinping, who has sought greater control over the economy and a bigger role for state-owned firms at the expense of the private sector.
Cook’s comments come as Apple weathers sinking sales in China because of a contracting smartphone market, increasing pressure from Chinese rivals, and slowing upgrade cycles. The company reported a revenue drop of 26 percent in the greater China region during the quarter ending in December.
Before those results came out, in a January letter to investors, Cook blamed the company’s poor China performance on trade tension between the United States and China, suggesting that pressure on the economy was hurting sales in China.