Investors and speculators monitor stock prices at the FALCOM investment bank in Riyadh. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser
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Stocks in Saudi Arabia advanced to the highest since January 2008 after the world's top oil producer proposed shareholding caps as it prepares to grant foreign investors access to the bourse.Saudi Arabia, the Middle East's biggest economy, is removing barriers to one of the world's most restricted stock markets as the kingdom pursues a $130 billion spending plan to boost non-energy industries. Investors from outside the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, looking for access to Saudi Arabia's $745 billion economy, aren't currently allowed to buy Saudi-listed shares directly, and instead access the market through equity swaps and exchange-traded funds.Saudi shares have gained 12 percent since July 22, when the regulator announced plans to open the market to foreigners, bringing the index's advance this year to 28 percent. That compares with a 8 percent increase in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index in 2014 and a 24 percent jump in the MSCI GCC Countries Index. Bahrain's BB All Share Index rose 0.2 percent. Muscat's MSM 30 Index was little changed while Qatar's QE Index slipped 0.2 percent.
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