Inclusion of Saudi stocks in MSCI to boost activity in Gulf markets in August

Total ownership of Saudi stocks by foreign investors has increased to 7.47 percent as of June 30. (Reuters)
Updated 08 July 2019

Inclusion of Saudi stocks in MSCI to boost activity in Gulf markets in August

  • Tadawul index falls in response to a fall in profits of Almarai and weakness in blue-chip stocks

DUBAI: Saudi stocks fell on Sunday in response to a fall in profits at food company Almarai and weakness in blue-chip stocks, while the Kuwait index rose for the seventh straight session buoyed by the recent MSCI move to upgrade Kuwaiti stocks to emerging market.
The Saudi market had opened slightly higher on selective buying in financials, but quickly lost momentum after Almarai’s shares plunged.
Almarai Co. fell 2.5 percent after it reported a nearly 12 percent drop in second-quarter profit and also announced the resignation of its Chief Executive Alois Hofbauer.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp., the index’s biggest stock by market capitalization, also slipped 0.2 percent and lender Banque Saudi Fransi dropped almost 1 percent.
Kuwait’s index gained 1.2 percent with the index hitting a new high for the year, extending gains after MSCI’s decision last month to move Kuwaiti equities to its main emerging markets index in 2020, a move that could trigger billions of dollars of inflows.
Kuwait has outperformed its Gulf peers in anticipation of the MSCI move, gaining nearly 26 percent year-to-date.
Middle Eastern funds plan to continue increasing investments in Kuwait over the next three months, a Reuters poll found earlier this week.
“Generally the summer period sees lower liquidity, so there is a seasonality factor. Having said that, Kuwait turnover and performance remains very solid,” said Mohamad Al-Hajj, head of MENA Equity Strategy for EFG Hermes.
There could be increased activity in the Gulf markets in August when MSCI is set to kick in the second phase of including Saudi stocks in its emerging market index.
“This should also generate higher trading activity across the region,” Al-Hajj said.

HIGHLIGHTS

● Kuwait’s index gained 1.2 percent with the index hitting a new high for the year.

● Property stocks weighed on Dubai index, which dropped 0.5 percent.

● Bahrain’s index gained 1.7 percent on the back of strong gains in Ahli United Bank.

Total ownership of Saudi stocks by foreign investors has increased to 7.47 percent as of June 30, up from 4.67 percent at the end of December, stock exchange data shows, reflecting increased active and passive fund flows this year.
Property stocks weighed on Dubai index, which dropped 0.5 percent. Emaar Properties fell 0.5 percent and DAMAC Properties dropped 2.4 percent. Emirates NBD was down 1.8 percent.
Qatar shares were also hit by selling in key blue-chip shares, as investors took profit from recent gains.
Qatar shares gained ground in recent sessions as a 10-to-one stock split for companies on the exchange is being phased in from June 9 and will be completed by Sunday.
The move is designed to boost liquidity by encouraging smaller investors to buy shares.
Bahrain’s index gained 1.7 percent on the back of strong gains in Ahli United Bank, which surged 4.9 percent amid expectations of completion of its merger with Kuwait Finance House.


Saudi female student pilot aims high with flying ambitions

Updated 19 November 2019

Saudi female student pilot aims high with flying ambitions

  • Amirah Al-Saif is among the first batch of 49 female students

DUBAI: Saudi women aiming to emulate Yasmeen Al-Maimani’s feat, the Kingdom’s first female commercial pilot, now have that opportunity as Oxford Aviation Academy has opened its doors for them to take flying lessons and earn their licenses.

One those women raring to earn her pilot wings is 19-year-old Amirah Al-Saif, who enrolled in the aviation academy to fulfill her dream of flying for the Kingdom’s national carrier Saudi Airlines (Saudia).

“They have been very supportive of us females,” Al-Saif, who hails from Riyadh, told Arab News at the sidelines of the Dubai Airshow, when asked about her experience at the academy.

Al-Saif is among the first batch of 49 female students, with six of them already in ground school, expected to receive their licenses by the start of 2021 after a grueling course that requires them to first learn English, Mathematics, Physics and other basic knowledge subjects.

She is also the first in the family to have an interest in the aviation industry.

Student pilot Amirah Al-Saif, right, who hails from Riyadh, is the first in the family to have an interest in the aviation industry. (Supplied)

Those who pass the foundation program can then move on to ground school for practical lessons and ideally graduate in two years with three licenses: the Private Pilot License, Instrument Rating and Commercial Pilot License.

Al-Saif considers herself lucky since she was not constrained take courses abroad for her pilot training, unlike Al-Maimani who had to leave the Kingdom to receive her license, as well as wait for a long time before being eventually hired by Nesma Airlines.

The flying school is located at the King Fahd International Airport in Dammam and is an authorized branch of Oxford Aviation Academy based in the UK.

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