October 1, 2017 / 7:20 AM / 9 months ago

Saudi stock index falls on FSTE's six-month delay of Riyadh upgrade

DUBAI, Oct 1 (Reuters) - The Saudi stock index fell almost 1 percent in early trade on Sunday following news that index compiler FTSE had decided to delay including Riyadh in its secondary emerging market index.

In its annual country classification review on Friday, FTSE praised Riyadh’s market reforms but said it would need more time to evaluate their practical impact.

It will therefore assess Saudi Arabia again next March: “It is anticipated that Saudi Arabia will meet the requirements for inclusion as a Secondary Emerging market from early 2018.”

The Saudi index had fallen 0.6 percent last week amid rumours that FTSE’s decision would be negative. On Sunday morning, blue chips that would probably be part of the emerging market index bore the brunt of selling; Saudi Basic Industries fell 1.0 percent and National Commercial Bank lost 1.2 percent.

Kuwait’s index initially rose as much as 0.8 percent on Sunday morning after FTSE decided to upgrade Kuwait to emerging market status in September 2018. But the decision had been expected, and the index later gave up most of its gains to stand only 0.2 percent higher. (Reporting by Celine Aswad; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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