The Tadawul All Share Index (TASI) fell 0.8 percent to 7,139 points on Sunday. Profit-taking in sectors including petrochemicals pulled down the Saudi stock market.
A monthly Reuters poll of Middle East fund managers, conducted at the end of last month, found many believing Saudi stocks were fully valued after a strong rally in the past few months and not intending to add to their portfolios in the next three months.
Petrochemical firm Saudi Kayan fell 1.1 percent and Nama Chemicals, which has lost about a third of its value this year after its accumulated losses reached over 75 percent of its capital, slid 8.1 percent.
However, builder Abdullah Abdul Mohsin Al-Khodari and Sons rose 0.8 percent after saying it had secured a SR69 million ($18.4 million) contract from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture.
The amount is small but Al-Khodari, like other Saudi construction companies, suffered from a severe cutback in state contract awards last year and the new contract may indicate money is flowing again.
Most Gulf stock markets rose on Sunday on the back of firm oil prices and global equities.
Dubai’s index rose 1.8 percent to 3,692 points in the heaviest trading volume in nearly a month, which more than doubled from Thursday’s level.
The index climbed above technical resistance at the mid-December peak of 3,659 points; a second straight close above that level would confirm a break, leaving the next chart barrier at the October 2015 peak of 3,740 points.
Seven of the 10 most heavily traded issues were low-priced stocks — below 1 dirham — which local retail investors tend to favor. Two of the 10 were insurance firms, with Dubai Islamic Insurance jumping 4.6 percent and Islamic Arab Insurance adding 3.4 percent. For the past couple of weeks, some traders have been speculating there may be mergers in the insurance industry following last year’s news of a big Abu Dhabi banking merger.
Abu Dhabi’s index climbed 0.7 percent with cement firms leading the gains. Gulf Cement jumped 12.9 percent in very thin trade.
Qatar edged up 0.1 percent, supported by property firm United Development, up 0.9 percent. But Gulf Warehousing fell 1.2 percent despite recommending an annual cash dividend of 1.60 riyals per share, up slightly from 1.50 riyals in the previous year. It said net profit climbed 11 percent last year.
In Egypt, the index climbed 0.5 percent although exchange data showed non-Arab investors turning net sellers of stocks, by a tiny margin, for the first time since the Egyptian pound was floated on Nov. 3.
Qalaa Holdings rose 3.6 percent after saying on Thursday that it was in talks with interested parties to divest its stake in Rift Valley Railways, one of its major overseas assets.
Muscat bourse recovers on buying support
Shares on the Muscat bourse recovered amid better investor sentiment on Wednesday. The MSM30 Index advanced by 0.80 per cent to close at 5,510.18 points. The MSM Sharia Index closed at 801.51 points