The shadows of investors are seen cast on a screen as they monitor stock prices at the FALCOM investment bank in Riyadh. The Saudi stock index sank 1.6% yesterday to 6,955 points, near technical support at its August low of 6,921 points.
Saudi Arabia’s stock market fell sharply yesterday after data pointed to an economic slowdown due to low oil prices.
Other major Middle Eastern markets fared better, with second-tier stocks favoured by speculators lifting Dubai.
The seasonally adjusted Emirates NBD Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers’ Index, an indicator of growth in the non-oil private sector, fell last month to 55.7 - its lowest since the survey began in August 2009 - from 56.5 in September.
Meanwhile the cost of insuring Saudi Arabia’s sovereign debt against default edged up to its highest level since June 2009, following a Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the kingdom’s debt rating on Friday.
The Saudi stock index sank 1.6% yesterday to 6,955 points, near technical support at its August low of 6,921 points. Turnover rose as the market dropped in a negative technical sign.
Petrochemical blue chip Saudi Basic Industries slid 2.7% and industrial zone developer Emaar Economic City dropped by the same amount.
Kingdom Holding fell 2.3% after saying it expected no financial impact from its sale of a 29.9% stake in media firm Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), which climbed 9.9% after a 7.2% gain on Monday.
Saudi Printing and Packaging Co also surged, adding 9.9% after a 9.8% leap on Monday. It has been rising in heavy trade since shortly after it reported quarterly earnings on Oct 20.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Dubai’s index rose 0.8%, though activity focused on low-priced speculative shares; HITS Telecom was the most active stock, climbing 2.4%.
Du, the UAE’s second biggest telecoms operator, closed 1.0% higher despite missing estimates with a 12.3% fall in third-quarter net profit to 489.8mn dirhams ($133.4mn). Two analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast 521.3mn dirhams.
Abu Dhabi gained 0.5% as Aldar Properties surged 4.6%.
Qatar’s index fell 0.3% as Industries Qatar slipped 0.4%. In a sign of tightening banking liquidity in Qatar, the central bank halved the size of a planned Treasury bill sale yesterday and yields rose sharply from last month’s auction.
Egypt’s index rose in early trade but closed 0.02% lower after a disappointing Purchasing Managers’ Index; the Egyptian PMI fell to an eight-month low of 47.2 in October from 50.2 in September, dropping below the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, Kuwait’s index edged up 0.2% to 5,794 points, Oman’s index edged up 0.2% to 5,948 points, while Bahrain’s index edged down 0.1% to 1,260 points.
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