Saudi stocks continue winning streak to fifth straight session

The Kingdom’s stock market closed up 1.1 percent, and has now gained nearly 16 percent overall. (Reuters)
Updated 13 June 2019
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Saudi stocks continue winning streak to fifth straight session

  • The Tadawul index closed 1.1 percent higher with National Commercial Bank, the Kingdom’s largest lender, gaining 2.7 percent
  • The index has gained nearly 16 percent year-to-date, outperforming its major Gulf peers in a rally led by foreign investors

BENGALURU: Saudi Arabia’s stock market rose for a fifth straight session on Wednesday as nearly all its banks gained, while other major Middle Eastern markets were mixed.
The Tadawul index closed 1.1 percent higher with National Commercial Bank, the Kingdom’s largest lender, gaining 2.7 percent and Al Rajhi Bank adding 1 percent.
The index has gained nearly 16 percent year-to-date, outperforming its major Gulf peers in a rally led by foreign investors, who have been net buyers of Saudi stocks every month this year.
A third tranche of the FTSE Russell emerging market index will kick in this month after Saudi stocks were included in two tranches in March and April.
Last month, the Saudi equity market joined the MSCI Emerging Market index, which could trigger billions of dollars in inflows.
The Abu Dhabi index added 0.4 percent with First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE’s biggest lender, increasing 0.8 percent.
Aldar Properties rose 1.1 percent after launching a 1.7 billion dirham ($463 million) residential project.
Qatar’s index gained 0.4 percent, led by a 1.3 percent gain in market heavyweight Industries Qatar. Commercial Bank rose 2.4 percent after a stock split of its shares taking effect earlier this week.
A 10-to-one stock split for companies on the exchange is being phased in from June 9, aiming to boost liquidity by encouraging smaller investors to buy shares.
The Dubai index dipped 0.4 percent with Emaar Properties, its largest listed developer, shedding 0.9 percent and Dubai Investments losing 1.5 percent.
Egypt’s blue-chip index fell 0.3 percent as tobacco producer Eastern Companywhich fell 2.9 percent.


Saudi Arabia relaxes ownership limits for foreign investors

Updated 26 June 2019
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Saudi Arabia relaxes ownership limits for foreign investors

  • Capital Market Authority chairman, Mohammed El Kuwaiz said, ownership in the Saudi capital market by financial investors had increased threefold this year
  • The move aims to help enhance the market’s efficiency and attractiveness and to expand the institutional investments base

RIYADH,: Saudi Arabia has relaxed a 49% limit for foreign strategic investors in shares of listed companies, aiming to attract billions of dollars of foreign funds as the Kingdom opens up the region’s largest bourse to a more diverse investor base.
The country has introduced a raft of reforms in recent years to make its stock market, the region’s biggest, attractive to foreign investors and issuers.
The move aims to help enhance the market’s efficiency and attractiveness and to expand the institutional investments base, the regulator, the Capital Market Authority (CMA), said in a statement on its website.
The Saudi stock market, which opened to foreign investors in 2015, has seen an upsurge in foreign fund flows since the start of the year due to its inclusion in the emerging markets indexes.
“In the beginning of this year, we had only one percent ownership in the Saudi capital market by financial investors, today it is over three percent, that’s more than a threefold increase,” CMA chairman, Mohammed El-Kuwaiz told Reuters in an interview.
“Our hope is that we can see a similar increase in terms of pace and magnitude as we start to create more avenues for foreign investors to come in to the market,” he added.
There will be no minimum or maximum ownership limit, although the owners must hold the shares for two years before they can sell.
Kuwaiz said huge demand from non-financial foreign investors pushed the CMA to grant approval on an exceptional basis to a number of strategic foreign investors to increase their holdings in Saudi listed companies. These included transactions at an insurance firm and a local bank.
Foreign investors have been net buyers of Saudi equities over the past few months, with purchases worth 51.2 billion riyals ($13.6 billion) until May 30. They currently own 6.6% of Saudi equities, of which 3.15% is owned by strategic foreign investors.
Local shares were incorporated into the FTSE emerging-market index in March and the MSCI emerging market benchmark in May this year. The country’s Tadawul All-Share Index is up 11 percent year-to-date.
Strategic foreign investors can take stakes in listed companies by buying shares directly on the market, or through private transactions and via initial public offerings.
Asked how this move would reflect on the Aramco IPO, planned for 2021, Kuwaiz said it would assure that the market has the physical regulatory and investor infrastructure to accommodate a company as large and as extensive as Saudi Aramco.