MIDEAST STOCKS-Saudi advances; Orascom Telecom supports Egypt
The Saudi Arabian stock market

DUBAI: Stocks in Saudi Arabia advanced in early trade on Tuesday as investors returned to the market and bought on dips after reports the kingdom’s state budget would now be announced next week, while Orascom Telecom carried Egypt higher.

The Saudi bourse climbed 1.2 percent, breaking the 7,000-point level, with all sectors advancing in early trade.

Volumes peaked at the open as investors found some reprieve in knowing the Saudi budget is now expected to be released next Monday, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television reported late on Monday, quoting sources.

There had been speculation the budget could have been announced at the start of this week, before a major policy speech by King Salman scheduled for Wednesday.

Alinma Bank rose 1.4 percent after it announced a dividend cash payout of 0.5 riyals ($0.13) per share for 2015. This is in line with the 2014 dividend and would be the second the lender has distributed since listing in 2008.

This is the second bank to announce annual dividends. Saudi Hollandi Bank last week proposed a payout which cut the dividend distributed to shareholders by 75 percent, although it is planning a large bonus share issue to investors. The oldest lender in the kingdom was 3.3 percent higher on Tuesday.

The banking sector was up 1.4 percent.

Egypt’s index rose 0.6 percent, heading towards its seventh session of gains, with Orascom Telecom carrying the market higher. The stock made up one sixth of the total market’s value traded.

The telco advanced 4.9 percent, adding to the gains it has enjoyed since Thursday’s close when it agreed to buy Commercial International Bank’s (CIB) investment banking subsidiary CI Capital for 1 billion pounds ($128 million).

CIB was down 0.8 percent, having climbed in earlier trading.

“We think CIB’s risk-reward profile is now more attractive in the context of regional banks and believe Egypt’s fundamental economic outlook is far more robust than in 2011-2013,” said a note by HSBC Global Research.


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