JEDDAH – Saudi Arabia’s index edged up Sunday to a new 41-month high in volatile trade. The stock benchmark Tadawul All Share Index climbed 0.7 percent to 7,533.74 points, extending year-to-date gains to 16.9 percent.
Heavyweight Al Rajhi Bank climbed 0.6 percent and Saudi British Bank added 0.7 percent. State-owned Saudi Electricity rose in heavy trade, up 2.4 percent.
Investors are bullish in the short and medium term, believing the market is catching up with company fundamentals after underperforming last year.
"There are about 20 days left until the first quarter results are due... in addition to the ex-dividend dates ... the market will not quiet down till the end of the earnings season," said Mateb Al Ghanim, portfolio manager at Amlakuna Investment Group.
Elsewhere, Dubai’s bourse made its largest one-day gain in 27 months, rebounding after last week’s savage profit-taking, with investor sentiment still bullish.
The emirate’s benchmark jumped 4.7 percent to 1,687 points, its largest one-day advance since December 2009.
Bellwether Emaar Properties climbed 4.5 percent, Arabtec surged 9.7 percent and Deyaar jumped 14.9 percent.
"Local retail investors have regained enthusiasm. There was a sharp correction (last week) but as anticipated it was short-lived and the market has resumed the rally," said Julian Bruce, EFG-Hermes director of institutional equity sales.
Foreign institutional buying is low, but may increase in the coming weeks, Bruce said. "Any Western institutional inflow will be deployed on larger-cap under-performing names," he added.
Sorouh Real Estate climbed 8 percent ahead of an annual general assembly later on Sunday, with investors expecting higher cash dividends. Rival Aldar Properties also rose, gaining 8 percent.
Abu Dhabi’s index climbed 1 percent to close at 2,587 points, up 7.7 percent so far in 2012. It fell to a three-year low in January.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s bourse snapped a five-session losing streak as financial stocks help lift the bourse. Islamic lender Masraf Al Rayan gained 1.9 percent, Commercial Bank of Qatar rose 1.5 percent and bellwether Qatar National Bank ticked up 0.2 percent.
Heavyweight Industries Qatar advanced 1.1 percent.
The firm’s board will meet next week to approve a cash dividend of 7.5 riyals ($2.06) per share.
Doha’s index rose 0.7 percent to 8,653 points, trimming year-to-date losses to 1.4 percent. – SG/Reuters