The Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) rose 0.15 per cent to 6,460.55 points on 23 January after the Capital Market Authority (CMA) decided to enable cross-listings on the bourse by foreign companies wanting to allow Saudi investors easier access to their shares.

It follows strong speculation that the Tadawul will open up to foreign investors to enable them to invest directly in Saudi Arabian stocks over the next few months.

Overall, it has been a positive week for the region’s largest bourse. The benchmark Tadawul All Shares Index (Tasi) opened the week on 21 January 1.35 per cent higher, closing at 6464.17 points, helped by a 1.63 per cent rise in the shares of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), which closed at SR93.25. Sabic accounts for about 12 per cent of the benchmark. The momentum slowed through the week with the Tasi managing to creep up just 0.10 per cent higher to close at 6,466.54 points on 25 January, pulled back by Sabic’s 0.5 per cent drop to SR91.75.

The positive sentiment was also felt in the UAE markets, which fared better than the week ending 19 January, when the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) dropped to its lowest point in seven years on 16 January to 1,301.24 points. The benchmark DFM General Index advanced every day of trading in the week beginning 22 January. Gains from DP World, Damas Jewellery and Union Properties pushed up the index during the week and a 6.70 per cent rise from Emaar Properties helped the DFM General Index to close at 1,396 points on 25 January, 2.35 per cent higher than the previous day of trading. Dubai’s real estate market is showing signs of stablisiation, bouyed by an influx of people from regional troublespots, such as Egypt and Libya.

The DFM, which is the only publicly listed bourse in the region, rose 8.46 per cent on 25 January, up 21.5 per cent since the beginning of the year.

Kuwait’s market regulator the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has been making headway by appointing UK-based HSBC to help privatise the country’s bourse. If the plan goes ahead, the Kuwait Stock Exchange (KSE) will become the region’s second publicly traded stock market. The CMA came into operation in March 2011 to regulate the GCC’s third-largest bourse by market capitalisation. It plans to sell 50 per cent of the KSE to listed companies, while the remainder will be offered to locals through an initial public offering (IPO).

Anticipation currently dominates the KSE as investors wait for company results. It has had a lacklustre performance with losses in the first two days of trading in the week, before a 0.57 per cent gain on 24 January which pushed the benchmark up to 5,820.60 points. The KSE benchmark is up 0.44 per cent since the beginning of the year.