JEDDAH – Saudi Arabian shares declined, led by banks and petrochemical companies, as the Arab world’s biggest bourse followed US stocks lower amid intensified investor concerns over global economic growth.
The stock benchmark Tadawul All Share Index (TASI) dropped 0.65 percent to close at 7,524.36 Saturday.
The 152-member index has gained 18 percent this year.
"The international data published last week adversely affected the petrochemical sector due to fears about a slowing global economy," Turki Fadaak, head of research at Riyadh-based Albilad Investment Co., said in response to e-mailed questions. "The petrochemical sector is most responsive to global data."
The banking index lost 1.1 percent. Al-Rajhi Bank fell to SR78.50, while Samba Financial declined to SR54. Al-Rajhi Bank lost 1 percent, and Samba Financial Group (Samba) decreas ed by 1.4 percent.
The petrochemical sector index lost 0.9 percent, with Saudi Fertilizers, a unit of Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic), dropping 4.9 percent, its lowest level since March 20.
"Resurfacing European debt concerns and slowing economic growth in China are affecting international sentiment," Asim Bukhtiar, head of research at Riyad Capital, said in response to e-mailed questions. "Some of this may impact Saudi market direction today, but first quarter earnings expectations will be top-of-mind."
Saudi companies started reporting first-quarter financial results earlier this month. Al Rajhi Bank and four other Saudi lenders posted first-quarter results that beat estimates as lending increased in the Arab world’s biggest economy.
US stocks fell this week, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 to its first back-to-back weekly decline since November, after employers added fewer jobs than estimated and investor concern over global economic growth increased.
US employers added 120,000 jobs in March, less than the median economist forecast of 205,000 disclosed in a Bloomberg survey.
A surge in Spanish and Italian bond yields has fueled concern that Europe’s debt crisis is worsening, while China said its economy expanded 8.1 percent in the first quarter, the slowest pace since 2009.
Saudi stocks have been falling throughout the week taking signal from other international equity markets.
Profit-taking took place and Tadawul sank roughly four percent last week.
TASI took downward march with a couple of big dips of roughly 145 points each, and ended the week at 7,573.28 points.
It lost 322.08 points or 4.08 percent for the entire week. All market cap indices ended the week in the negative zone. – SG