Saudi Arabian shares fell, led by Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), the world’s biggest chemicals maker by market value, after stock markets around the world slumped amid signs the economy is weakening.
The Tadawul All Share Index retreated 2.1 per cent to 4,675.66 in Riyadh. The measure has lost 2.7 per cent this year after losing more than half its value in 2008 as oil prices dropped.
Sabic dropped 4.1 per cent to a one-month low of SR44 (Dh43.1). Etihad Etisalat Company (Mobily), the second- largest mobile-phone company in Saudi Arabia, lost the most on the bourse in more than a week.
“Saudi shares are following international markets, which were down at the end of last week,” said Suhail Al Suhail, trading manager at NCB Capital in Jeddah.
“Investors are expecting more bad news, such as lower dividends.”
The S&Poor’s 500 Index had the worst weekly drop in three months, the FTSE 100 Index dropped below 4,000 for the first time in three months and Asian stocks posted the biggest weekly decline since October.
Etihad Etisalat dropped 1.4 per cent to SR34.4 after its parent company, Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, signed a €12 million (Dh72.1m) agreement to sponsor Spanish soccer team FC Barcelona for four years.
Meanwhile, an investment banking affiliate of HSBC said that foreign investment in Saudi-listed firms is gathering momentum despite the global financial crisis.
Saudi Arabia in August allowed non-resident foreign investors to sign swap pacts with Saudi intermediaries, permitting indirect ownership of shares, in one of the boldest steps to date taken by the Kingdom towards opening up its exchange. It had previously given foreigners access to stocks only through select funds.
“The pace of foreign investment in Saudi-quoted companies has been picking up noticeably, despite various challenges and difficulties faced by markets all over the world,” said Osama Shaker, HSBC Saudi Arabia Managing Director.