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New Saudi Stock Market Opens With Gains of 20 Percent

Saudi Arabia on Sunday launched a parallel equity market designed to boost small and medium enterprises that closed up 20 percent, the maximum allowed in a single day, brokers said.

The index on the parallel market, Nomu, listing seven companies, closed at 6,000 points with trading of 256 million Saudi riyals (about $67 million).

Argaam, a Saudi economic website, put the total capitalisation of the seven companies trading on Nomu at 1.8 million riyals ($479 million).

The companies listed are Raydan Restaurants, Baazeem Trading Company, Arab Sea, Al Omran Trading, Abdullah Saad Abo Moati, Food Development Company and Al Samaani Metal.

Argaam said Baazeem was the most active on Sunday with 2.2 million shares trading hands.

To be listed on Nomu, companies must have a market value of at least 10 million riyals ($2.7 million), a minimum of 35-50 shareholders and at least 20 percent of shares publicly owned.

Firms listing on the oil-rich kingdom’s main stock market — the Tadawul — must have minimum capitalisation of 100 million riyals, or 10 times that of the new platform.

Nomu’s launch was announced last Monday by Tadawul which said the new equity market was “an alternative trading platform with lighter listing requirements”.

Saudi Arabia’s “Vision 2030” reform plan to diversify its oil-dependent economy aims for small and medium sized firms to account for 35 percent of GDP, up from 20 percent.

Tadawul, which has a capitalisation of about $400 billion, opened to direct investment by qualified foreigners for the first time in 2015.

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