Saudi shares flat; banks fall, petrochemicals gain

RIYADH - Saudi Arabian shares were little changed on the first day of the week as international markets started extended holidays and investors prepare for the release of fourth-quarter results in the kingdom.

By Mourad Haroutunian (Bloomberg)

Published: Sun 26 Dec 2010, 11:30 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 10:11 AM

The Tadawul All Share Index swung between gains and losses during the day’s trading, ending down less than 0.1 per cent in Riyadh to 6,609.14 points, the lowest since December 21.

Banks, led by Samba Financial Group, Saudi Arabia’s second- largest lender by market value, drove declining stocks, while petrochemicals led by Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Company, a unit of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, the world’s largest petrochemicals maker, paced gaining shares. The 146-company gauge has climbed eight per cent this year.

“The market is flat on extended holidays and light trading in international markets until the new year,” Asim Bukhtiar, an equity analyst at Riyad Capital, said in Riyadh. “Holiday shopping has encouraged an optimistic outlook for 2011.”

European and US stocks rose for a fourth week. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 1.6 per cent, extending this year’s rally to 11 per cent.

The S&P 500 rose one per cent, topping its close of 1,251.70 points on September 12, 2008, the last trading session before Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc filed the world’s biggest bankruptcy.

Brent crude oil for February settlement gained 2.3 per cent this past week and 20 per cent this year, settling at $93.77 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange yesterday. Saudi Arabia holds one-fifth of the world’s proven oil reserves.

Samba declined 0.8 per cent, the most since December 20, to SR59.5. Riyad Bank, the kingdom’s third-largest lender, lost 1.1 per cent to SR26.4. Sabic retreated 0.2 per cent, the most since December 22, to SR105.25. Safco rose 1.6 per cent to SR160.25, the highest since October 15, 2008. Etihad Etisalat Company, Saudi Arabia’s second-largest telecommunications operator, known as Mobily, gained 0.9 per cent to SR55.

“Investors are gearing up for the new year and fourth- quarter results,” said Fuad Aghabi, investment director at Ajeej Capital in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia’s index is the only Gulf Arab index tracked by Bloomberg that trades on Saturday.

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