Sabic and Al Rajhi Bank drag Tadawul down

Saudi shares started the week on a negative note, dragged down by heavyweights Saudi Basic Industries (Sabic) and Al Rajhi Bank.

The benchmark closed 0.5 per cent down at 6221 points, with the biggest losses in the banking sector whose index dropped almost one per cent to 16,098. Rajhi shed 0.7 per cent, while Samba Financial Group dropped 1.9 per cent.

Sabic's shares declined 0.3 per cent. "Investors are now looking at companies' financial statements and trying to see where growth will come and whether petrochemicals prices will hold," Youssef Kassantini, Head of Discretionary Portfolio Management at Rasmala Investment Saudi, said last week.

The Tadawul index fell 0.1 per cent to 6253 points on Wednesday, its lowest finish since January 5, but most analysts remain upbeat on the kingdom's prospects.

"Saudi has a very good story – it has a large indigenous population that is growing and a shortage of infrastructure and housing," said Keith Edwards, Head of Asset Management at Doha-based The First Investor. "It's compelling, but you can't transfer that story to the rest of the Gulf."

In all, 124.3 million shares changed hands in 72,274 trades with an estimated value of more than SR2.54 billion (Dh2.49bn). As many as 134 counters saw trading with 45 gainers and 71 losers.

The Saudi Arabia Public Transport Company (Saptco) counter saw active trading yesterday, following news it has teamed up with an affiliate of France's Regie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) to bid for public transport projects.

Saptco signed a "strategic co-operation agreement" with RATP Developpement that would "enhance the two firms' competitiveness in operating and the maintenance of integrated public transportation networks", the Saudi firm said in a statement on the Saudi bourse website.

Major gainers include United Co-operative Assurance and Al Ahlia Insurance. Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical, Arab Cement, Kingdom Holding, Samba and Sabb were the major losers.

 

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