MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi, Egypt consolidate in thin trade
The Saudi Arabian stock market

DUBAI: Oct 1 The Saudi Arabian and Egyptian stock markets consolidated in thin, early trade on Thursday as investors mostly ignored firmer oil prices and global equities.

The Saudi index was virtually flat after 45 minutes of trade. Among the few major gainers was Islamic insurer SABB Takaful, which added a further 3.9 percent after surging 9.4 percent on Wednesday.

Standard & Poor’s said in a report this week that gross insurance premiums in Saudi Arabia could rise nearly 25 percent this year, mainly because of tariff increases.

The stock market was unmoved by news that Citigroup and emerging markets-focused investment manager Ashmore Group had obtained licences to invest directly in Saudi stocks, bringing the number of foreign institutions licensed to do so up to at last three.

Inflows of foreign funds into the market are expected to remain very gradual, and local investors are worried by factors such as the weak outlook for oil prices, uncertainty over the level of government spending, and the conflict in Yemen.

Egypt’s index was up 0.1 percent. North Africa Co for Real Estate Investment rose 3.9 percent after jumping 10 percent in unusually active trade on Wednesday.

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