Saudi Stocks Edge up as Investors Hold back on Volatile Oil Prices
The Saudi stock exchange, the biggest in the Arab world, edged up 0.6 percent on the week to Thursday, as investors continued to hold back on volatility in the oil market, a financial consultancy said Thursday.
The general index of the National Center for Financial and Economic Information (NCFEI) closed at 2,350.75 points against 2,337.87 a week earlier, according to Bakheet Financial Advisors.
"The Saudi stock market continued its upward trend this week with low trading due to oil price volatility," Bakheet said.
Oil prices have remained firm around 32 dollars a barrel since OPEC's decision on Sept 10 to hike output by 800,000 barrels per day to cool the market.
Prices have topped levels not seen since the 1991 Gulf war over the past weeks, and on Thursday morning a barrel of North Sea Brent reference crude for October delivery was trading at 31.90 dollars a barrel.
Amongst the blue chips, Arab National Bank and Saudi French Bank were the best performers, up 2.5 and 2.3 percent respectively, while Saudi Hollandi Bank dipped 0.3 percent.
Trading value reached 1.6 billion riyals (439.7 million dollars), down slightly from last week's figure of 1.8 billion riyals (483.8 million dollars). Stock prices of 28 companies were up, 23 were down, 11 were unchanged and 12 did not trade.
The Saudi bourse, which has a market capitalization of 60 billion dollars, had its best performance for eight years in 1999, with the NCFEI moving forward 43.6 percent, due mainly to the increase in crude oil prices and economic reforms launched by the kingdom - RIYADH (AFP)
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