High liquidity in the Saudi Arabian stock market over the summer and Ramadan months signal investor interest in the market which could lead prices higher in coming weeks, Reuters reported yesterday.
Investors traded SR 307 billion ($ 82 billion) worth of shares on the Saudi bourse during June-August, a surge of 83 percent from the year-earlier period, the news agency said citing stock exchange data.
This has extended a trend of active trading for most of this year; daily turnover spiked as high as SR 21.6 billion in March, a level not seen since 2007.
Turnover usually drops around 50 percent during Ramadan as investors work shorter hours. The reversal in trend may indicate new investor confidence in Saudi equities.
“From the brokers’ perspective, margin lending and discounts on commissions have been catalysts to bring back investors to the market,” said Asim Bukhtiar, head of research at Riyad Capital, said in Trading Middle East, a Thomson Reuters online financial community.
“In tandem, the fundamentals and economic picture started to brighten in 2012 with banks reporting strong loan growth and earnings,” he said.
“During the summer, investors did not sell their positions to cover margins and appeared willing to pay interest on margins in anticipation of market improvement following the Eid holidays,” Bukhtiar added.
The high turnover suggests to many analysts that the market’s risk/reward ratio may favor the bulls for the rest of this year, even if the global investment picture prevents any rapid rally.
“By year-end, the target for the index is 7,600 in the best-case scenario and 7,000 in the worst case. The boundaries are wide, in case of moves in major sectors, petrochemicals and banks, due to global issues,” Faisal Al-Othman, portfolio manager at Riyadh-based Arab National Bank, told Reuters.