Saudi Arabian shares fell the most in two weeks, led by Saudi Basic Industries Corp, as oil prices dropped to a seven-week low and European stocks fell for a fourth consecutive week.
Saudi Basic, or Sabic, fell 2.3 per cent to SR85.5, the biggest decline since November 3. Herfy Food Services, the kingdom's largest fast-food chain, which started trading on February 2, dropped 2.6 per cent to SR56.5. The Tadawul All Share Index fell 1.05 per cent to 6,215.71.
Crude oil fell to a seven-week low yesterday, as the dollar surged on speculation European efforts to cut deficits will curb growth, prompting investors to sell commodities. European stocks declined for a fourth week, the longest losing streak since July, on concern efforts by Greece, Portugal and Spain to reduce their deficits will hurt the region's economic recovery.
"The Saudi market finds it hard to decouple from the downward pressures of other global equities over the past few days," said John Sfakianakis, Riyadh-based chief economist at Banque Saudi Fransi. "Oil also witnessed a sharp fall, which adds to uncertainty."
Saudi Arabia's index is the only Gulf index tracked by Bloomberg that trades on Saturday.
Gulf Union Co-operative Insurance Company posted a gain of 8.70 per cent to close the day at SR30, while Trade Union Co-operative Insurance Company closed at 25.80 with a gain of 8.15 per cent. AXA Co-operative Insurance Company gained 2.01 per cent to close at 30.40, while Kingdom Holding Company gained 4.08 per cent to close the day SR7.08.
Yanbu Cement Company shares rose by 1.04 per cent to close the day at SR48.50, Saudi Arabian Refineries Company gained 2.51 per cent to end the day at SR49, among the major gainers.
Among shares that slid on the day were Samba Financial Group that declined 3.14 per cent to SR54, while Saudi Arabian Co-operative Insurance Company slipped 5.50 per cent to SR67.50.
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