Saudi Arabia petrochemicals stocks track declines in oil prices, dragging the benchmark Tadawul All Share Index which lost 0.65 percent to close at 6,614.13 points Tuesday, its lowest close since May 7.
US crude retreated on Tuesday because of expectations OPEC might raise its production target this week. Brent crude added 5 cents to $114.53 a barrel after reaching its weakest close in nearly two weeks Monday. Petrochemical and banking, the Saudi market’s two largest sectors, fall, with bellwether stocks Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) and Al-Rajhi Bank down 0.7 and 1 percent respectively.
Sahara Petrochemical Co falls 2.3 percent after rising 5.2 percent on Monday.
Advanced Petrochemical Co also slips, down 2 percent. Elsewhere, Vodafone Qatar helps lift Doha’s index from a three-month low, while foreign investors increase their positions in the market.
The benchmark ended 0.8 percent higher at 8,184 points, rising from Monday’s three-month low. Traders say attractive valuations are drawing back foreign investors following recent declines.
Meanwhile, volumes in Dubai’s index hit a seven-week peak as speculators dominate, while banks lift Abu Dhabi’s index to a four-week high. Dubai’s benchmark ended 0.09 percent higher at 1,565 points.
Abu Dhabi’s index extended gains, rising 0.3 percent to 2,685 points, a May 8 intraday high.
Kuwait and Oman’s markets changed little.
Vodafone jumped 4.1 percent after rival Qatar Telecom (Qtel) was ordered by the country’s regulator to close its Virgin Mobile Services.
Qtel rose 1.4 percent.
"It’s a marginal victory for Vodafone Qatar, and a marginal loss for Qtel. It’s a small market, and Qtel is still making good returns in that market," said Martin Mabbutt, telecom analyst at Nomura.
Vodafone had long argued Qtel’s launch of Virgin-branded pre-paid services constituted a third service provider and violated the terms of Vodafone’s license.
"We’ve seen huge accumulation in Union Properties – that was part speculation but also it’s (investors) building new positions," said Samer Al-Jaouni, General Manager of Middle East Financial Brokerage Co.
"There is a belief that small, low priced stocks will benefit from general sentiment in the market."
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