Petrochemical and banking sectors trigger TASI plunge
TASI 1.73 percent lower at 6,624.95 points
Saudi investors monitor the stock prices on a computer screen
The Saudi market closed lower on Saturday, dragged down by losses in petrochemical and banking sectors. The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) ended 1.73 percent lower at 6,624.95 points after gaining 0.27 percent last week.
The petrochemical index dropped 1.88 percent to 6,804.76 points as heavyweight Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) lost 2.57 percent to close at SR104.25.
The value of Saudi traded shares reached SR5.78 billion on Saturday.
Commenting on the Tadawul fall on Saturday, Jarmo T. Kotilaine, chief economist at the National Commercial Bank (NCB), said the weak US data might be spooking the markets.
“Certainly oil demand worries might explain the SABIC selling,” he said.
Saudi Fertilizers Co. (SAFCO) also ended lower, dropping 0.84 percent to SR178. Sahara Petrochemical shares surged 3.49 percent to SR25.20.
The banking sector declined 1.4 percent to 15,724 points.
Banque Saudi Fransi was the only bank in positive territory while all the banks were in the red on Saturday.
Al-Rajhi Bank shares dropped 1.66 percent to SR74.25.
SABB shares fell by 2.27 percent, the Saudi Investment Bank by 1.85 percent and Samba by 1.42 percent.
In the telecom sector, shares in Saudi Telecom Co. (STC), Etihad Estisalat (Mobily) and Zain KSA declined by 2.87 percent, 3.337 percent and 2.07 percent respectively.
Paul Gamble, head of research at Jadwa Investment, said the fall in the TASI was not a surprise given the moves in global markets over the last couple of days.
Disappointing employment and manufacturing data from the US and political uncertainty in Japan contributed to a more than three percent decline in the US S&P500 while the Saudi market was closed for the weekend.
“The global economy is going through a weak phase at the moment owing to high commodity prices and the aftereffects of the natural disaster in Japan.
While a surge in government spending will keep the Kingdom’s economic fundamentals solid, share prices will continue to be influenced by big moves in leading global markets,” Gamble said.