Saudi bourse surpasses London

The Saudi Stock Exchange surpassed London to be the world's second busiest market for initial public offerings in the first five months, Thomson Reuters data showed.

The New York Stock Exchange, thanks to the $19.7 billion (Dh73bn) listing of Visa, topped the global IPO league table with 12 new issues raising a combined $24.4bn, up 173 per cent year on year.

The total of Saudi Stock Exchange IPOs jumped 322 per cent from a year earlier to $8.5bn as it welcomed Alinma Bank, which raised $2.8 bn in the country's biggest IPO in April. The Saudi bourse also benefited from the $1.87bn listing of mobile phone company Zain Saudi Arabia, an affiliate of Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunications, and Petrochemical firm PetroRabigh's $1.2bn float.

Despite growth on some exchanges, global IPO activity fell 36 percent to $65bn in the first five months as the global financial crisis dented investor appetite for equity. IPOs on the London Stock Exchange's main market were down 74 per cent to $5.6bn, while Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which ranked fourth in the global IPO market, attracted IPOs totalling $5.2bn, a 57 per cent decline from 2007.

Arabian Pipes surges

Saudi Arabian shares advanced for a second day, led by building and agriculture stocks.

Arabian Pipes Company gained the most in almost six weeks after Shuaa Capital recommended investors buy the company's shares.

Almarai rose to its highest in almost two years. The Tadawul All Share Index increased 0.4 per cent to 9,529.34. The index has lost 14 per cent so far this year.

"Trading volumes have dropped drastically as most investors prepare for the summer holidays,'' said Abdulla Al-Aqil, a trader at Samba Financial Group in Riyadh.