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Tadawul witnesses violent fluctuations.

Byline: Abdul Jalil Mustafa

AMMAN: Arab stock markets kept their upward thrust last week, buoyed by rising oil prices and the flow of fresh liquidity to regional markets as investors appeared upbeat over indicators that the world recession could be bottoming out, financial analysts said yesterday.

"I believe rising oil prices represent a positive indicator that sends a message to markets that the situation of the world economy could be improving," Wajdi Makhamreh, chief operating officer at the Amman-based Sanabel International Holding, said.

"Higher oil prices mean more liquidity coming to the regional bourses particularly in the Gulf region, but it is insufficient so far to produce the required momentum," he said.

Makhamreh expected speculation to continue to reign both at crude markets and Middle East stock exchanges in the coming three months ahead of the winter season which usually witnesses jumps in demand for oil.

"Markets now feel that the worst is behind us, but the full recovery needs more time," he said.

The Saudi stock exchange witnessed violent fluctuations last week which analysts attributed to profit-taking moves that took place after weeks of strong gains.

The market was led by both down and up by the petrochemical conglomerate, the Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC).

The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) gained 0.1 percent last week, closing at 6,052.63 points.

TASI is currently 26 percent higher than the year's start, according to the weekly report of the Riyadh-based Bakheet Investment Group (BIG).

"We expect the market to remain volatile within a narrow band this week reflecting the movement of oil prices and performance at global markets," the report said.

Jordanian shares extended gains last week, led by blue chips, particularly the Arab Bank, the Arab Potash Co., the Jordan Phosphate Mines Co. and the Jordan Petroleum Refinery.

"Rising oil prices have apparently reflected positively on the Jordanian market, particularly the mining sector and the petroleum refinery," Makhamreh said.

The all-share price index of the Amman Stock Exchange gained 2.1 percent last week, closing at 2,863 points, according to the ASE weekly report.

Kuwait's KSE all-share price index gained 0.73 percent, closing last week at 7,773 points as investors appeared hesitant to take new positions pending the emergence of coherence between the new government and the legislature in the wake of last week's general elections, analysts said.

The benchmarks of the United Arab Emirates stock exchanges of Dubai and Abu Dhabi gained 1.9 percent and 0.8 per cent this week, closing respectively at 1,667 points and 2,612 points.

Egyptian shares tumbled on Thursday. Egypt's AGX-30 index, measuring the performance of the market's 30 most active stocks, plummeted 4 percent, to close at 5,699.52 points.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:May 23, 2009
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