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Saeed Azhar

RPT-Saudi stocks set to receive $20 bln windfall even as some investors sit out

18 Mar 2019

LONDON/DUBAI, March 17 Saudi Arabia's inclusion in major emerging markets stock indices from Monday is likely to suck in around $20 billion in passive inflows, but unease after Jamal Khashoggi's murder and sluggish reforms could lead some active foreign investors to steer clear.

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi dips ahead of FTSE Russell index inclusion, other markets mixed

17 Mar 2019

(Adds more details, background) By Hadeel Al Sayegh and Saeed Azhar DUBAI, March 17 Saudi stocks dipped slightly on Sunday, a day ahead of the market's inclusion in the FTSE Russell's emerging market index, while other Gulf markets were mixed with Qatar down 1.1 percent on weakness in banks and real estate firms. Investors booked profits in recent gainers on the Tadawul, weakening the benchmark, which was down 0.2 percent. The Saudi index has gained 9.5 percent so far this year, outperforming major Gulf markets. Foreign investors have been net buyers of Saudi stocks every week this year, positioning for passive fund inflows after its inclusion in the FTSE Russell index on March 18 and in MSCI from late May. "There is some profit-taking on select leading stocks but the overall trend is still upward," said a Saudi trader, asking not to be named. Foreign net buying has hit $2.1 billion year-to-date. "We can reasonably expect between 90 billion to 100 billion riyals ($24-$27 billion) inflows," said Muhammad Faisal Potrik, head of research at Riyad Capital. He said traded value is also expected to rise 14 percent to $100 million a day in the wake of Saudi's inclusion in key benchmark indices. NON-FINANCIALS DIP On Sunday, the Saudi market was steady, with weakness among some non-financial stocks, notably Saudi Basic Industries , which fell 0.3 percent, and Saudi Telecom, which dropped 0.8 percent. However, Al Rajhi Bank was up 0.1 percent, while Saudi British Bank gained 0.9 percent. Potrik said the Saudi market had risen only by a modest 14 percent in the last 12 months, as opposed to more significant rallies in Dubai and Qatar before index inclusion. Foreign funds had sold Saudi assets in late 2018 following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in early October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Among other Gulf markets, the Abu Dhabi index fell 0.4 percent, hit by weakness in market heavyweights, First Abu Dhabi, which was down one percent. News that Qatar will no longer permit First Abu Dhabi Bank to provide services for new customers in Doha, its regulator said, amid a probe over alleged currency manipulation after the Gulf rift did not have much impact on the stock. An FAB spokeswoman said the bank had no immediate comment on the matter. Abu Dhabi-listed Dana Gas, however, gained 2.7 percent after the company approved plans for a sukuk buyback and also said it plans to seek shareholder approval to buy back 690 million of the company's shares. The company said share buyback is aimed at enhancing shareholder value. Dubai stocks were up 0.1 percent, buoyed by Emaar Properties which was up 0.4 percent, however Aramex was down 2.1 percent after Australia Post sold its 10 percent stake in the company. The United Arab Emirates "markets continue to trade on weakness in traded values and index movement within a tight horizontal range due to general assembly meetings season, where dividends are being approved, and shares prices correcting downwards because of that as they trade ex-dividend," said Mohammed Ali Yasin, chief strategy officer at Al Dhabi Capital. "We are also in a company vaccuum currently and until the first quarter results for this year become available, incentives to invest are not strong," Yasin said. Qatar index dropped 1.1 percent, hurt by selling in insurance and real estate stocks. Qatar Insurance was down 4.1 percent, while Barwa Real Estate dropped 1.9 percent. "We have been bearish on Qatar since the beginning of the year and expect the market to continue to underperform," said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital. "We see limited growth opportunities for companies & therefore find valuation levels stretched," Bhandari said. Elsewhere in the region, Egypt's main benchmark rose 0.3 percent, led by banks, investment firms and real estate companies. Commercial International Bank rose 0.7 percent. Egypt Kuwait Holding rose 3.4 percent, while Heliopolis Co for Housing and Development rose 2.7 percent. SAUDI ARABIA The index fell 0.2 pct to 8,563 points ABU DHABI The index fell 0.4 pct to 4,977 points DUBAI The index was up 0.1 pct at 2,578 points QATAR The index fell 1.1 pct to 9,863 points EGYPT The index rose 0.3 pct to 15,033 points KUWAIT The index rose 0.1 pct to 5,674 points OMAN The index rose 0.3 pct to 4,086 points BAHRAIN The index was flat at 1,410 points ($1 = 3.7502 riyals) (Additional reporting by Marwa Rashad Editing by Gareth Jones)

Saudi stocks set to receive $20 billion windfall even as some investors sit out

17 Mar 2019

LONDON/DUBAI Saudi Arabia's inclusion in major emerging markets stock indices from Monday is likely to suck in around $20 billion in passive inflows, but unease after Jamal Khashoggi's murder and sluggish reforms could lead some active foreign investors to steer clear.

RPT-Saudi stocks set to receive $20 bln windfall even as some investors sit out

17 Mar 2019

LONDON/DUBAI, March 17 Saudi Arabia's inclusion in major emerging markets stock indices from Monday is likely to suck in around $20 billion in passive inflows, but unease after Jamal Khashoggi's murder and sluggish reforms could lead some active foreign investors to steer clear.

Saudi stocks set to receive $20 bln windfall even as some investors sit out

17 Mar 2019

LONDON/DUBAI, March 17 Saudi Arabia's inclusion in major emerging markets stock indices from Monday is likely to suck in around $20 billion in passive inflows, but unease after Jamal Khashoggi's murder and sluggish reforms could lead some active foreign investors to steer clear.

Big investors look past Khashoggi to opportunities in Saudi Arabia

12 Mar 2019

DUBAI/RIYADH Big investors in Saudi Arabia are pushing ahead with deals and pouring money back into its stock market as the kingdom tries to move on from the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

UPDATE 2-Oman's fiscal challenges prompt Moody's debt downgrade

06 Mar 2019

* Arqaam's fund manager sees $2-$3 bln debt issues in 1H (Adds fund manager's quote on debt, fiscal deficit)

UPDATE 1-MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi index rises as FTSE Russell countdown begins

03 Mar 2019

* Saudi index up 9 pct in 2019, outperforming Gulf peers * Saudi's entry to FTSE Russell emerging index on March 18 * Kuwait index jumps on banking rally * Dubai rebounds after last week's profit-taking (Adds revised Egypt index closing prices) By Saeed Azhar DUBAI, March 3 Saudi stocks ended higher on Sunday, helped by optimism over fund inflows ahead of the entry by the Gulf's biggest market to the FTSE Russell's emerging market index in a little more than two weeks. The Tadawul main index was up 0.5 percent, led by financial stocks. Samba Financial Group rose 1.1 percent and Al Rajhi Bank climbed 0.4 percent. Al Tayyar Travel Group surged 5.7 percent as investors looked beyond its 2018 full-year loss to take comfort from its plans to raise 3 billion riyals ($800 million) in fresh capital. One trader, who asked not to be named, said speculation around a possible takeover of Dubai-based ride-hailing firm Careem by Uber Technologies is also fuelling gains in Al Tayyar's stocks, given the company's minority stake in Careem. Saudi Arabia's stock exchange expects passive fund inflows of $15 billion to $20 billion this year as it gears up for inclusion in emerging market benchmarks, its chief executive told Reuters on Thursday. "The first phase of FTSE inclusion should drive in 10 percent of the estimated total $6 billion in passive flows into the Saudi market," said Vrajesh Bhandari, a senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital. He said bigger moves are expected when global index provider MSCI adds Saudi stocks to its global benchmark in two tranches in May and August, but he cautioned that the Saudi market's valuation appears rich. The Saudi index has gained about 9 percent this year and is outperforming its Gulf peers, with its shares trading at nearly 17 times earnings. Bhandari said the Saudi market's rise could be capped by a slower earnings growth compared with other emerging markets. Saudi stocks will be the largest Middle East market in the FTSE Emerging Index with an overall weighting of 2.7 percent, according to the index-compiler FTSE Russell said. The inclusion will happen in several tranches and will be completed by December this year. The first 25 percent tranche will be added from March 18, according to the FTSE Russell document. Dubai stocks were up 0.3, rebounding from a sell-off on Friday when profit-taking set in after a sharp rally in property stocks on strong fourth-quarter earnings at companies linked to Emaar Properties. Shares of DAMAC Properties jumped by 5.8 percent and Emaar Malls rose 1.7 percent. Although the Dubai index has rallied this year, led by strong fourth-quarter results at real estate firms, an expected further fall in property prices is capping gains. The Kuwaiti index gained 0.8 percent fueled by banking stocks. Burgan Bank ended 1.9 percent up after recently posting a rise in quarterly earnings. Kuwait Finance House rose nearly 1 percent. Egyptian stocks, which have been the best performers in the Middle East this year with gains of 13.7 percent, ended 0.1 percent up on Sunday, led by financials. Gains were capped by selling in Global Telecom Holding , which dropped 1.5 percent. The stock has been volatile since Amsterdam-based VEON Holdings, an existing shareholder, submitted a recent mandatory takeover offer for the telecoms company. SAUDI The index rose 0.5 pct to 8,534 points ARABIA DUBAI The index rose 0.3 pct to 2,642 points QATAR The market was closed for a holiday ABU DHABI The index fell 0.3 pct to 5120 points EGYPT The index rose 0.1 pct to 14,820 points KUWAIT The index rose 0.8 pct to 5,525 points OMAN The index fell 0.2 pct to 4,138 points BAHRAIN The index rose 0.3 pct to 1,417 points ($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham) ($1 = 3.7502 riyals) (Additional reporting by Marwa Rashad Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and David Goodman)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi index rises as countdown begins for entry to FTSE Russell index

03 Mar 2019

* Saudi index up 9 pct in 2019, outperforming Gulf peers * Saudi's entry to FTSE Russell emerging index on March 18 * Kuwait index jumps on banking rally * Dubai rebounds after last week's profit taking By Saeed Azhar DUBAI, March 3 Saudi stocks ended higher on Sunday, helped by optimism over more fund inflows ahead of the entry of Gulf's biggest market to the FTSE Russell's emerging market index is just over two weeks. The Tadawul main index was up 0.5 percent, led by financial stocks. Samba Financial Group rose 1.1 percent and Al Rajhi Bank climbed 0.4 percent. Al Tayyar Travel Group surged 5.7 percent as investors went past its full-year loss in 2018 to take comfort from its plans to raise 3 billion riyals ($800 million)in fresh capital. One trader, who asked not to be named, said speculation around a possible takeover of Dubai-based ride-hailing firm Careem by Uber Technologies is also fuelling gains in Al Tayyar's stocks given the company's minority stake in Careem. Saudi Arabia's stock exchange expects passive fund inflows of $15 to $20 billion this year as it gears up for inclusion in emerging market benchmarks, its chief executive told Reuters on Thursday. "The first phase of FTSE inclusion should drive in 10 percent of the estimated total $6 billion in passive flows into the Saudi market," said Vrajesh Bhandari, a senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital. He said bigger moves are expected when the global index provider MSCI adds Saudi stocks to its global benchmark in two tranches in May and August, however he cautioned that the Saudi market's valuation appears rich. The Saudi index has gained about 9 percent so far this year. outperforming its Gulf peers, trading at nearly 17 times price-to-earnings ratio. Bhandari said Saudi market's rise may be capped by a slower earnings growth profile compared to other emerging markets. Saudi stocks will be the largest Middle East market in the FTSE Emerging Index with an overall weighting of 2.7 percent, according to the index-compiler FTSE Russell said. The inclusion will happen in several tranches and will be completed by December this year. The first 25 percent tranche will be added starting March 18, according to the FTSE Russell document. Dubai stocks were up 0.3, rebounding from a selloff on Friday when profit-taking set in after a sharp rally in property stocks following strong fourth-quarter earnings of companies linked to Emaar Properties. Shares of DAMAC Properties surged 5.8 percent and Emaar Malls rose 1.7 percent. Although the Dubai index has rallied this year, led by strong fourth-quarter results at real estate firms, an expected further fall in property prices is capping gains. The Kuwaiti index gained 0.8 percent fueled by gains in banking stocks. Burgan Bank ended 1.9 percent higher after recently posting a rise in quarterly earnings. Kuwait Finance House rose nearly 1 percent. Egyptian stocks, which have been the best perfoming stocks in the Middle East this year with gains of 13.7 percent, ended 0.2 percent higher on Sunday led by financials. Bigger gains were capped by selling in Global Telecom Holding, which dropped 1.7 percent. The stock has been volatile since Amsterdam-based VEON Holdings, an existing shareholder, recently submitted a mandatory takeover offer for the firm. SAUDI The index rose 0.5 pct to 8,534 points ARABIA DUBAI The index rose 0.3 pct to 2,642 points QATAR The market was closed for a holiday ABU DHABI The index fell 0.3 pct to 5120 points EGYPT The index rose 0.xx pct to points KUWAIT The index rose 0.8 pct to 5,525 points OMAN The index fell 0.2 pct to 4,138 points BAHRAIN The index rose 0.3 pct to 1,417 points ($1 = 3.6728 UAE dirham) ($1 = 3.7502 riyals) (Additional reporting by Marwa Rashad Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi stocks edge higher in run-up to joining FTSE emerging market index

03 Mar 2019

DUBAI, March 3 Saudi stocks opened firmer on Sunday, just over two weeks before the Gulf's biggest market is set to enter the FTSE Russell's emerging market index.

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