Investors focus on first quarter results

07/03/2009 00:00 AST  Arab News

The Saudi stock market plummeted for the third week in a row, led by the petrochemical and banking sectors.

The Tadawul All-Share Index (TASI) plunged 4.27 percent last week, closing at 4,348.26 points.

TASI is currently 9.5 percent lower than the year’s start.

The Riyadh-based Bakheet Investment Group (BIG) weekly report attributed the continuing bleeding of the Saudi stock exchange to “the global turmoil and concerns sparked by negative economic indicators and doubts surrounding the stimulus plans”.

The BIG expected “technical declines in stock prices in March due to the dividend distributions.”

However, investors are expected to focus attention in the coming weeks on the first quarter results, the report said.

National Agriculture Marketing Co. was the top gainer last week as its shares jumped 19.19 percent to close at SR22.05. Shares in Saudi Advanced Industries Co. plunged 18.78 percent to SR9.95 last week.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) shares dropped 6.11 percent last week to SR36.90.

The value of Saudi shares traded declined to SR17 billion last week from SR20.40 billion in the previous week. SABIC dominated trading value at 18 percent.

Arab stock markets lost fresh ground last week as investors’ concerns mounted over plans taken by the United States and other major economic powers to come to grips with the deepening recession, analysts said yesterday.

“Ambiguity apparently dominates regional markets as investors prefer to stay on the sidelines pending the emergence of clues as to the success of the US and European stimulus packages in spurring their shrinking economies,” Wajdi Makhamreh, chief operating officer at the Amman-based Sanabel International Holding, told Arab News.

“I believe Gulf bourses are more exposed to global turmoil than other Arab markets due to the relative correlation existing between Arab countries and Western markets,” he said.

Jordanian stocks were volatile last week amid a liquidity shortage, profit-taking moves and a spate of speculation whereby investors tended to sell blue chips and buy small caps, financial analysts said.

The all-share index of the Amman Stock Exchange closed lower at 2,606 points from 2,616 points in the previous week, according to the ASE weekly report.

The Kuwaiti stock exchange was also the scene for sharp volatility last week. Kuwait’s KSE all-share price index gained 1.4 percent to close at 6,534 points.

The benchmark price of the United Arab Emirates stock exchanges of Dubai and Abu Dhabi shed 0.8 percent last week, closing at 2,466 points.

Egypt’s CASE-30 price index, measuring the performance of the market’s 30 most active stocks, climbed 5.3 percent to close at 3,576 points.

The GulfBase GCC Index dropped by 0.91 percent to 2,748.78 points. The value of GCC traded shares also declined by 12.19 percent to $6.85 billion and volume fell 17.06 percent to 5 billion of shares.

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