Most stock markets in the Middle East edged down after global bourses and oil prices fell further and Egypt’s Orascom Telecom saw a second day of steep losses after an acquisition plan was called off but Saudi Arabian shares were firm.
Tadawul All-Share Index recovered from early weakness to end up 0.3 percent as Saudi Electricity Co. (SEC) climbed 2.5 percent.
SEC said earlier that it was inviting expressions of interest from companies to build two solar power plants; the firms would invest in the plants and sell electricity to SEC in deals that could become models for future infrastructure projects under Saudi Arabia’s economic reform plan.
Other blue chips also supported the market with the largest listed Islamic lender, Al-Rajhi Banking, gaining 1.7 percent. Retailer Fawaz Al-Hokair rose 3.4 percent.
But Dar Al-Arkan Real Estate, which had surged nearly 30 percent since news that it was in talks with the government to build housing units under last week’s economic plan, fell 1.6 percent to 6.35 riyals. Eight analysts polled by Reuters have a 5.94 riyal mean price target for the stock.
Many portfolio managers are still sizing up the likely impact of the economic reform plan on companies’ earnings; they have largely stayed clear of making long-term commitments to Saudi shares.
Another factor looming for the market is international index compiler MSCI, which is to announce after the close on Tuesday whether it will put Saudi Arabia on review for possible inclusion in its emerging markets index as early as mid-2017.
Inclusion would bring billions of dollars of passive foreign funds into the market but fund managers are split on whether Saudi Arabia is likely to be put on review this year.
Mohammad Shabbir, head of equity funds at Dubai-based Rasmala Investment Bank, said there was a high possibility for MSCI to include Saudi Arabia in its index next year because of an easing of foreign ownership restrictions and reforms to the trading environment announced in early May.
MSCI will also announce on Tuesday whether China A-shares will be upgraded to its emerging markets index. If they are, this would dilute the weightings of other Middle Eastern markets in the index — UAE, Qatar and Egypt — causing outflows of passive funds from them.
“The impact of the outflow will be short-lived,” said Shabbir.
Mohamed el-Jamal, head of capital markets at Abu Dhabi’s Waha Capital, said he was expecting about $100 million of outflows from the UAE, Qatar and Egypt if China A-share inclusion went ahead.