Saudi Arabian stocks traded near a six-month high as investors awaited an announcement by the country’s regulator on rules opening up the market to foreigners for the first time. The Tadawul All Share Index rose and fell as much as 0.3 percent before trading 0.2 percent lower at 12:18 p.m. in Riyadh. Al Rajhi Bank, the lender with the biggest weighting on index, added 0.2 percent. The Riyadh-based Capital Market Authority will publish the final regulations today to allow foreigners direct access to its stock market starting June 15. The rules will be enacted June 1. “There is nervous anticipation in the market,” Mohammed Al-Suwayed, a Riyadh-based financial analyst and partner at SPT Investors LLC, a market-analytics company, said by phone. “Investors are not very sure what sort of changes there will be, hence the fluctuation.” OPEC’s biggest oil exporter is removing barriers to one of the world’s most-restricted major stock markets as it pursues a $130 billion spending plan to boost non-energy industries. Investors from outside the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council currently access shares listed on the country’s $572 billion market through equity swaps and exchange-traded funds. The CMA may allow institutional investors with a minimum of 18.75 billion riyals ($5 billion) under management to invest directly in the stock market, according to the draft rules published in August.
A defiant session for oil stocks helped calm investor nerves in the wake of the worst week of trading for London’s FTSE 100 Index since August 2011. There was some buying interest in a number of heavyweight oil companies as the price of Brent crude stabilised at around 63 US dollars a barrel. More big losses for Asian markets had fuelled expectations for fresh falls in London but the FTSE 100 Index held firm at 19.3 points higher at 6320.1.
The FTSE 100 bounced back yesterday as stronger commodity stocks helped it more than recover the ground lost in a 1% decline over the previous session. The rebound came as the price of Brent crude rose to $71 a barrel, having slumped to a five-year low close to $67 on Monday after Opec ministers failed to cut production.