March 27, 2018 / 8:51 AM / a month ago

MIDEAST STOCKS-FTSE decision lifts Saudi Arabian market, others remain soft

DUBAI, March 27 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s stock market rose on optimism over its inclusion in the emerging market indexes, while other markets had a mixed reaction in early trade on Tuesday.

The Saudi index rose 0.9 percent to its highest level since August 2015 as investors are expecting FTSE to upgrade Riyadh to secondary emerging market status. FTSE will make the announcement later on Tuesday.

Investors were bullish on Saudi stocks, all sectors included, as they expect billions of dollars to pour into the market after the upgrade.

Energy and petrochemical sectors rose with petrochemical company PetroRabigh gaining 1.2 percent and Saudi Kayan Petrochemical Company rising 0.70 percent.

Yanbu Cement jumped 4.3 percent to 33.90 riyals as it signed an agreement to export 1 million tonnes of clinker and half a million tonnes of cement for one year starting in April.

Al Rajhi Bank, which has been one of the main beneficiaries of foreign money in anticipation of Riyadh’s expected entry onto emerging market indexes, was up 1.5 percent. The biggest listed Saudi bank, National Commercial Bank , also climbed 1.0 percent.

In Dubai, the main index lost 0.50 percent as real estate firm Deyaar fell 3.1 percent and DXB Entertainments plunged again 3.5 percent after reporting a 1.12 billion dirham ($305 million) loss for last year.

The Abu Dhabi stock index was 0.4 percent down as the blue chips were flat to down in heavy trades.

The Qatari index rebounded 0.2 percent although it was held back Qatar International Islamic Bank which plunged 6.8 percent as it announced going ex-dividend.

Qatar National Bank,the Middle East’s biggest bank, gained 0.6 percent in early trade and Masraf Al Rayan also edged up 0.7 percent. (Reporting by Aziz EL Yaakoubi; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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