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Flurry of Fines Shows Mideast’s Biggest Market Ready to Open

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Anyone doubting Saudi Arabia’s commitment to opening its stock market directly to foreigners for the first time should check out what happened in January.

The Riyadh-based Capital Market Authority, which regulates the equity exchange of the largest Arab economy, handed out more than 800,000 riyals ($213,000) of fines to listed companies. That was the most in a month since at least 2004, according to its website, and more than the previous three months combined. This year, it’s also taken the unprecedented step of fining Twitter users for using the social-media platform to advise on the market, and has begun referring some violations to the public prosecutor.