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MENAFN - Arab News - 31/05/2008

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(MENAFN - Arab News) Arab stock markets stand to gain from improving geopolitics in the region, particularly the national reconciliation in Lebanon and the Israeli-Syrian peace talks, financial analysts said yesterday. "I believe regional bourses will respond positively to the geopolitical developments as represented by the subsiding of the Lebanese political crisis and the peace talks between Israel and Syria," Wajdi Makhamreh, chief operating officer of Amman-based Sanabel International Holding, told Arab News.

He said that the improving economic conditions in the United Sates that helped to alleviate slowdown predictions would have a positive impact on Middle East bourses. The movement of oil prices and the second quarter results will have an impact on decisions of investors in the coming weeks, he said. "However, we do not exclude profit taking intervals that put downward pressure on prices at times," Makhamreh said.

Saudi shares lost further ground this week mainly under the downward psychological pressure of the listing of the one billion free-float shares of Inma Bank, according to the Riyadh-based Bakheet Investment Group (BIG). The Tadawul All Share Index (TASI) of the Arab world's largest bourse shed 1.87 per cent this week, closing at 9,491.31 points from 9,672.62 points last week. TASI is currently 14 percent lower than the year's start, the BIG weekly report said.

The BIG expected "the negative psychological impact to dissipate" after the listing of Inma Bank. "This will help the market to rally during the coming period, given Saudi Arabia's robust macroeconomic factors, surging oil prices and the attractive financial results of listed firms," the report said. Jordanian shares extended gains this week, led by blue chip firms particularly the Arab Potash Co., the Jordan Phosphate Mines Co. and the Jordan Petroleum Refinery.

 






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