British Assets Gain, Mid-cap Stocks Lead after Labour Election Win

A view of the Palace of Westminster which houses Britain's parliament, during the general election, in London, Britain, July 5, 2024. REUTERS/Hannah McKay Purchase Licensing Rights
A view of the Palace of Westminster which houses Britain's parliament, during the general election, in London, Britain, July 5, 2024. REUTERS/Hannah McKay Purchase Licensing Rights
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British Assets Gain, Mid-cap Stocks Lead after Labour Election Win

A view of the Palace of Westminster which houses Britain's parliament, during the general election, in London, Britain, July 5, 2024. REUTERS/Hannah McKay Purchase Licensing Rights
A view of the Palace of Westminster which houses Britain's parliament, during the general election, in London, Britain, July 5, 2024. REUTERS/Hannah McKay Purchase Licensing Rights

British domestic-focussed mid-cap stocks were the biggest gainers on Friday after the centre-left Labour Party surged to a comprehensive win in a parliamentary election with blue chip stocks, government bond prices and the pound higher.

Hopes that the incoming government will provide a period of economic stability after an often tumultuous 14 years of Conservative Party rule sent the FTSE 250 midcap index (.FTMC), up as much as 1.8% in early trading to its highest since April 2022.

The blue chip FTSE 100 index (.FTSE), was last up 0.2% and the yield on 10-year British government bonds or gilts, dropped 3 basis points to 4.17%, marginally better than other European markets, Reuters reported.

Labour won a massive majority in the 650-seat parliament while Rishi Sunak's Conservatives suffered the worst defeat in the party's long history as voters punished them for a cost of living crisis, failing public services, and a series of scandals.

"A landslide victory provides the sort of clarity and stability that equity markets need in an increasingly volatile world," said Ben Ritchie, head of developed market equities at abrdn.

"If the new government gets this right, businesses with significant exposure to the UK economy should be the likely winners - a shot in the arm in particular for companies in the FTSE 250 and FTSE Small Cap".

British home builders stood out, with an index tracking their shares up 2.3%.

"We think the formation of a Labour-majority government will have a positive impact on housebuilders and construction materials," said Aruna Karunathilake, portfolio manager at Fidelity.

"We expect Labour to reinstate housebuilding targets and perhaps also fund investment in local planning departments... That should alleviate builders’ concerns about planning bottlenecks impeding growth in the medium term."

Analysts at Goldman Sachs said that while Labour's manifesto policies imply relatively limited changes to fiscal policy they would modestly boost demand in the near term.

As a result, they raised their forecasts for British GDP growth by 0.1 percentage points in each of 2025 and 2026.



New Legislation Facilitates Investment in Saudi Tourism Sector

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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New Legislation Facilitates Investment in Saudi Tourism Sector

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib said, in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, that work is underway on new regulations and legislation that will facilitate the investment process in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia is witnessing a major transformation in the tourism sector after it enacted and developed a number of regulations and launched mega projects that allowed the country to attract more than 100 million visitors last year, the target initially set for 2030.
During a press conference on Wednesday at the Abu Faraj heritage palaces in Al-Aziza, west of the city of Abha in the southern Aseer region, Al-Khatib revealed the ministry’s moves to provide appropriate long-term funding at a competitive cost in order to encourage investment in the Saudi tourism system.
In his remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, the minister pointed to the most prominent achievements in the sector, revealing that the Kingdom received 60 million visitors during the first half of 2024, with spending amounting to SAR 143 billion ($38.1 billion), recording about 10 percent growth in the number of tourists and spending.
He added that by the end of the first half of this year, the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product had reached 5 percent, and was moving steadily toward achieving 10 percent, which is equivalent to SAR 600-700 billion of tourism income.
Moreover, Al-Khatib also spoke about the launch of the Bachelor of International Hospitality Management program, a partnership between the Ministry of Tourism, King Khalid University, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
He noted that a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Ministry of Tourism and the Colleges of Excellence Company, with the aim of developing human capabilities and expanding international specialized technical colleges and strategic partnership institutes in the field of tourism and hospitality.
Al-Khateeb said 10,000 training opportunities both inside and outside the Kingdom would be allocated to those working in the Aseer region’s tourism sector.
The National Tourism Strategy aims to reach over 150 million local and international tourists by 2030. In 2023, it reached 109 million.
The minister added: “The Tourism Development Fund plays an important role in providing financing, allocating SAR 7.4 billion to enable over 100 tourism projects around the Kingdom with a value exceeding SAR 35 billion.”
He pointed out that the fund financed 10 major projects in the Aseer region, ranging from international hotels to multi-use projects with a value exceeding one billion riyals. International hotel brands included: InterContinental Residence in Abha, DoubleTree in Khamis Mushait Governorate, and Khayal Walk Boulevard.